For almost one hundred years, the Catholic Church in the United States has had a strong relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) is eager to maintain that relationship. Hundreds of thousands of young people have benefitted from the Scouting programs offered through Catholic chartering associations. These programs seek to instill the importance of duty to God and to country, and they build character, teach devotion to God, and develop personal maturity and social responsibility.
Potential changes in the BSA’s membership standards have led to much discussion. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting is grateful to the Boy Scouts of America for the seriousness with which it has approached the inclusion of adult leaders and youth who experience same-sex attraction. The NCCS awaits the BSA’s decision regarding its Membership Standards Resolution at its National Annual Meeting on May 24, 2013.
The Catholic Church teaches that those who experience same-sex attraction are always to be treated with dignity and respect. The Church also teaches that sexual acts belong within marriage, and that everyone – young or old, married or single – is called to chastity, through which we grow in our understanding of love. These teachings are especially important for those who serve as role models for young people. Because of this, the Church reserves the right to seek to place those who live by its teachings in leadership positions that serve our youth, as well as the right to continue to call our young people to live by the teachings of our faith and by moral truth which can be known by all.
The NCCS will respond to the outcome of the May 24 th vote according to the truths of our Catholic faith and in conformity with the Church’s teaching. The Church’s teaching on same-sex attraction as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church , nos. 2357-2359, and in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care (2006) will continue to be a fundamental reference point. The NCCS will continue to work with Catholic dioceses in their relationship with BSA and in assisting their guidance of troops affiliated with Catholic parishes and schools.
We realize that the BSA Membership Standards Resolution deals with a difficult and sensitive topic. As the time for the vote draws near, we encourage all to treat one another with courtesy, respect, and kindness, and to direct prayers to the Great Master of All Scouts for the benefit of the Scouting Movement.