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Nov. 11, 2013 - NCCS Issues Official Response Regarding BSA Youth Membership Standard

The official response regarding the BSA Youth Membership Standard was issued on November 11, 2013. It is approved by the National Chair and the Executive Committee of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, as well as Bishop Robert Guglielmone, the Episcopal Liaison from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

The NCCS released a one-page letter of response, along with a list of helpful FAQs.
Read the Letter (PDF)
Read the FAQs (PDF)

Individual Bishops Respond to BSA Policy Decision

From Bishop Guglielmone (Diocese of Charleston, SC and Bishop Liaison to NCCS)

From Bishop Malloy (Diocese of Rockford, IL)

From Archbishop Aquila (Archdiocese of Denver)

From Cardinal Wuerl (Archdiocese of Washington, DC)

Bishop Guglielmone's Response

http://www.themiscellany.org/index.php/news/4505-bishop-responds-to-decision-to-allow-gay-youth-in-boy-scouts

Leaders in Catholic Scouting encourage careful, prayerful reaction to the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to lift a ban on accepting openly gay youth as members.

The BSA’s national council voted May 23 at its meeting in Texas to lift the long-standing ban on accepting gay youth as members, but retained a ban on gay adult leaders.

The 1,400 member council voted to change the bylaws to read “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

It goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Catholic News Service reported a statement by the BSA that said the decision to study and change the policy came after “growing input from within the Scouting family” and a long review called “the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history.”

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ liaison with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, attended the meeting and said the decision was not surprising, especially in light of national trends that show more acceptance of gay people and issues such as gay marriage.

“We’re going to have to find a way to work with this,” he said.
The important thing, Bishop Guglielmone said, is for the Church not to abandon Scouting, noting the positive impact it has on the character and moral development of so many young people.

Some Catholic activists have already called for parents to pull their sons out of Scouting and for the Church to form its own youth organizations that combine the activities of Scouting with strict adherence to Church teaching. A mass exodus would be a mistake. Bishop Guglielmone stressed that Scouting has many strengths and many Catholic families have deep roots in the organization.

“We have half a million Catholic Scouts in this program and they’re not all going to transfer out of it,” he said in an interview with The Miscellany. “If we pull away, we’re going to have Catholic kids in a movement where there is no reflection of their faith. We need to remember that the movement has a lot to offer.”

According to BSA membership data, 70 percent of the 100,000 chartered Scouting units in the U.S. are sponsored by faith-based groups. There are 8,397 Catholic-chartered units.

Bishop Guglielmone said the new policy, as written, can be considered acceptable by Church standards because it still stresses the fact that sexual activity of any kind is not compatible with Scout values.

“We need to stress that Church teaching says that the homosexual inclination and attraction itself is not immoral, but what is immoral is any sexual conduct outside marriage,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “The Church states that everybody is called to live a chaste life.”

In a statement released on May 24, the NCCS said they have adequate time to study its effects, which it will do before determining how the change will impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities.

“In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan Scouting committees,” the statement said.
The NCCS echoed Bishop Guglielmone’s perspective on Church teaching and emphasized the importance of showing respect for everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

“The Catholic Church teaches that people who experience a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons,” the NCCS statement read. “The Church’s teaching is clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral. Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching. “

Bishop Guglielmone said the faithful, whether or not they are involved in Scouting, can discuss this issue in a loving, Christ-like way with others by simply emphasizing Church teaching on sexuality and the sanctity of marriage. He said the discussion is important because many people, including youth, already have contact with gay men and women in daily life.

“People should be honest about what church teaching is,” the bishop said. “All sexual activity outside marriage is contradictory to Church teaching and has never been considered acceptable, and that is not going to change.”

Read more: http://www.themiscellany.org/index.php/news/4505-bishop-responds-to-decision-to-allow-gay-youth-in-boy-scouts#ixzz2WcAapOqC

Current Statement on New Policy Adopted by the Boy Scouts of America
From: Most Reverend David J. Malloy, Bishop of the Diocese of Rockford
Date: June 3, 2013

http://www.rockforddiocese.org/BSA

It has come to my attention that media, both regional and national, are continuing to report that the Boy Scouts of America has changed its policy and will admit "openly gay" and/or "openly homosexual" young men. The new policy language adopted by the Boy Scouts of America, which becomes effective on January 1, 2014, does not use those words. It states: "... No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

A statement released and updated on May 23rd by The National Catholic Committee on Scouting posted on both its website and the website for the Diocese of Rockford states in part:

1. "The Catholic Church teaches that those who experience same-sex attraction are always to be treated with dignity and respect."

2. "The Church also teaches that sexual acts belong within marriage, and that everyone is called to chastity."

The teaching of the Catholic Church regarding moral behavior for all persons outside the marital state remains the same. In addition, the policy of the Boy Scouts of America states "Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual, or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting." This tenet of the Boy Scouts of America is not incompatible with the Church's teaching.

Currently there is no prudential reason to believe the Boy Scouts of America and its locally sponsored troops will act otherwise. However, more study is being carried out on this issue, including by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, so that our parishes locally and the Church nationally can attempt to forge a common understanding and a common policy to address this decision.

As Catholics we are called to love all people as fellow children of God, our creator. In doing so we must guide each other to live moral and chaste lives and never encourage or condone behavior contrary to God's plan for us.

In the Diocese of Rockford, 42 scouting units are sponsored by Catholic parishes or organizations. At this time the new standard adopted by the Boy Scouts of America does not seem to provide an obstacle to our continued sponsorship of those troops or of scouting, as long as Catholic principles of morality are followed. I will remain vigilant to this end and have asked the priests and pastors of this diocese to remain involved and steadfast in the application of Catholic guidance for the troops sponsored by their respective Catholic parishes and organizations.

At this time, it is my hope that we, in the Diocese of Rockford, will not need to discontinue partnering with the Boys Scouts of America in the healthy formation of young men.

Archdiocese of Denver Statement on Boy Scouts

http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/10186

For more than 100 years, the Catholic Church has proudly supported the presence of the Boy Scouts of America in its schools and parishes. Scouting effectively forms characters in a wholesome environment, and under the leadership of strong role models.

The most recent revision of the Membership Standards of the Boy Scouts states that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The Church agrees that no group should reduce a person to their sexual orientation or proclivity. However, the moral formation of youth must include a firm commitment to respecting and promoting an authentic vision of sexuality rooted in the Gospel itself. While the Archdiocese of Denver will continue to allow parish-chartered Scouting organizations, we will be steadfast in articulating a Christian understanding of human dignity and sexuality.

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Declaración de la Arquidiócesis de Denver sobre los Boy Scouts

Durante más de 100 años, la Iglesia Católica ha apoyado con orgullo, la presencia de los Boy Scouts de América en sus escuelas y parroquias. Los Scouts forman a los niños en el carácter, de manera efectiva, en un ambiente sano y bajo el liderazgo de modelos sólidos.

La reciente revisión de las normas de Membrecía de los Boy Scouts, señala que “no se puede negar la membrecía a ningún joven, basados sólo en su orientación o preferencia sexual”. La Iglesia está de acuerdo en que ningún grupo debería reducir a una persona a su sola orientación o tendencia homosexual. Sin embargo, la formación moral de los jóvenes debe incluir un firme compromiso de respetar y promover una auténtica visión de la sexualidad, enraizada en el Evangelio.

Si bien la Arquidiócesis continuará aceptando la participación de las organizaciones de Scouts en sus parroquias, seguiremos con firmeza en la comprensión cristiana de la dignidad y sexualidad humanas.

Boy Scouts vote to allow openly gay youths to belong to Scout troops
Cardinal Wuerl - Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

5/29/2013 9:18:00 AM

http://www.cathstan.org/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=2&ArticleID=5699

The Boy Scouts of America's National Council voted late May 23 to allow openly gay youths admittance as members into the 103-year-old organization, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

In a statement, the organization said the decision to review the organization's ban on accepting homosexuals as members was made based on "growing input from within the Scouting family."

"Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history, the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America's National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone," the statement said.

The announcement was made at the Boy Scouts of America's annual national meeting in Grapevine, Tex. The organization said it did not reconsider its ban on homosexual adults as Scout leaders and that the policy remains in place.

"The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive and unresolved societal issue," the statement added. "As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter."

The announcement of the policy change comes amid intense debate about the role of homosexuals in the Boy Scouts of America.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting said that since the policy change does not take effect until next January, it will have "adequate time to study its effects."

"The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan Scouting committees," the Catholic organization said in a statement.

The Catholic Church teaches that people "who experience a homosexual inclination or a same-sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons," the statement said.

"The Church's teaching is clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral," it continued. "Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching."

In a separate statement, the Washington Archdiocese said the Boy Scouts of America policy change "does not affect the teachings of the Catholic Church and the manner in which the Archdiocese of Washington conducts the Scouting programs under its purview."

"Scouting programs seek to instill the importance of duty to God and to country, and groups chartered through the Catholic Church witness to the faith while continuing to provide an opportunity to involve youth in the life of the local parish," it said in a statement.

"The Church, through its clergy and lay leaders, has the responsibility to teach the Gospel and encourage all people to live out the teachings of Christ - regardless of their sexual preference," it added.

The Denver Archdiocese in a statement said that the Catholic Church "agrees that no group should reduce a person to their sexual orientation or proclivity. However, the moral formation of youth must include a firm commitment to respecting and promoting an authentic vision of sexuality rooted in the Gospel itself."

"While the Archdiocese of Denver will continue to allow parish-chartered Scouting organizations," it said, "we will be steadfast in articulating a Christian understanding of human dignity and sexuality."

At a news conference in Grapevine, John Stemberger, founder of OnMyHonor.Net, said that "on this day, the most influential youth program in America has turned a very tragic corner." His organization is a nationwide coalition of parents, Scout leaders, Scouting donors, Eagle Scouts and other members of the Boy Scouts.

"The Boy Scouts of America has a certain logo and it has this phrase 'Timeless Values.' Today the BSA can no longer, in good faith, use this phrase," he said. "It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization's values are, in fact, not timeless. Instead, they are governed by the changing winds of polls, politics and public opinion."

Stemberger said that according to the Boy Scouts' own assessment, the move will cause as many as 400,000 current members to leave the organization.

"They also predicted they will lose $30 million of their $300 million budget," Stemberger said. "That's their estimates. Why they would do this just because some activists are screaming loudly makes no sense to me whatsoever."

Regarding the organization's decision to leave in place its policy against allowing adult homosexuals to be Scout leaders, Stemberger said a change in that policy will only be a matter of time.

Proponents of the change said they welcomed the move, but that the policy remains insufficient.

"We view this as a first step to full inclusion," Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said at a news conference in Grapevine. "For me, this resolution clearly doesn't go far enough, but there is no doubt that for young men all over the country, this is a validation of who they are and an important testament to the ability of Scouting to reconsider its position."

In the 2000 case Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 ruling that the Boy Scouts of America was within its rights to set its own membership standards, including whether gay youths can be admitted into the organization.

Since then, gay rights activists have been lobbying the Boy Scouts to change its policy and have pressured corporations who give financial support to the organization to also push for the change.

In a statement May 24, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Va., said it was "highly disappointing to see the Boy Scouts of America succumb to external pressures and political causes at the cost of its moral integrity." He said allowing gay youths to be Boy Scouts will force his diocese "to prayerfully reconsider whether a continued partnership with the BSA will be possible."

The organization's "clarity and courage ... over many years in the face of considerable cultural, political and legal pressure to change its membership policy with regard to those who openly profess to live a homosexual lifestyle has been a testament to the virtues that Scouting has successfully instilled in the young men who have benefited from its programs," the bishop said.

"I deeply regret that the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, after years of principled and steadfast resolve, has now wavered in their commitment to the values that the Scouting movement has traditionally embraced and taught," he added.

Bishop Loverde said in the months ahead he would consult the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, among others, to "determine whether our parishes can continue their relationship with the Boy Scouts. Overarching all of this will be our firm commitment to preserving the integrity of the Church's teaching on the authentic meaning of human sexuality."

According to the organization's website, there are more than 2.6 million youths and 1 million adult members in the Boy Scouts of America. Catholic parishes and organizations across the country operate more than 8,300 Scouting units, including the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated Feb. 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916. Its stated mission is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.

About 70.3 percent of the more than 100,000 chartered Scouting units are sponsored by faith-based organizations, according to Boy Scouts membership data. A breakdown shows:

- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest faith-based organization of chartered Scouting units with 37,856 and 430,557 youth members. Church leaders have publicly supported the new membership standards.

- Catholic-chartered units total 8,397 with 273,648 members.

- The United Methodist Church is the second-largest sponsor of Scouting with 10,868 chartered unit and 363,876 members.

New membership standards were floated in January by Boy Scouts. It gave sponsors of local Scout units the option of welcoming gays as youth members and leaders. The Boy Scouts then decided to survey its members before introducing a formal proposal for a vote by members.

The survey showed that of the 200,000 members who responded, 61 percent supported the current policy while 34 percent opposed it. Boy Scouts officials then decided to put the issue before the National Council.

Response from the National Chairman of the Catholic Committee on Scouting

May 29, 2013

My fellow Catholic Scouters,

I am writing this not only as the NCCS National Chairman, but also as an Eagle Scout with nearly 30 years of adult service in Catholic Scouting. I have had four children involved with Scouting and currently have one in Cub Scouting. I must admit that I have concerns about where the change in the Boy Scouts of America youth membership standard may lead. I have been in discussion with Bishop Robert Guglielmone, our liaison from the USCCB, and Fr. Michael Hanifin, our National Chaplain. I have been reading e-mail, blogs, postings to our Facebook page, and had discussions with members of BSA staff and leaders of other faith-based chartered partners. After all this, some prayer and discernment, I have come to the following conclusions:

  • Scouting is still the best youth-serving program available to all youth
  • We should be encouraged that the change in BSA’s youth membership standard is not in conflict with Catholic teaching
  • We need to use this opportunity to show our commitment to making Catholic Scouting a safe environment for all youth in which the Catholic faith is taught, practiced and nurtured.

What role has the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) played? The NCCS exercises its advisory capacity as a member of the BSA Religious Relationships Task Force. The NCCS is not a voting member of the BSA. During the listening period, we expressed our concerns and provided references on Catholic teaching to BSA. The resolution appeared to respect those teachings and BSA’s responses to our concerns were satisfactory. We felt that the Catholic Scouters selected as voters could, in good conscience, vote either for or against the Resolution.

The following are the pertinent responses, made as public statements, from the BSA to our and others’ concerns:

  • Any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting
  • The Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda
  • The Scout Oath begins with duty to God, and the Scout Law ends with a Scout’s obligation to be reverent. Those will always remain core values of the Boy Scouts of America. The values set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are fundamental to the BSA and central to teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes.

The NCCS has as its purpose to utilize and ensure the constructive use of the program of the BSA as a viable form of youth ministry with the Catholic youth of our nation. To do this, we cooperate with the bishops of the United States, relating to the USCCB through a Bishop Liaison. Each diocesan bishop must decide whether the membership standard is acceptable. Bishop Guglielmone has written to every bishop in the United States concerning the issue and has made himself available to assist them in doing what is best for our young people.

What was actually approved by BSA? Following is the resolution that was approved by more than 60% of the voters as the new BSA membership standard for youth:

Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principles (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

We understand this to mean the following:

  • A youth will not be prevented from receiving a rank award or religious emblem simply for being gay.
  • A youth will not need to hide the fact that he is gay if he doesn’t want to.
  • A youth thinking or knowing he is gay should not be afraid that he will be bullied or expelled by the Scouting community by disclosing his sexual orientation.

BSA is expected to provide more details on the application of this resolution over the coming months leading to the resolution’s implementation on January 1, 2014.

What is the relevant Catholic Church’s teaching? The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that individuals who disclose a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with the same dignity due all human beings created by God (CCC 2358). This teaching is followed in enrollment policies for Catholic schools, for Catholic sports programs, and for all programs of Catholic youth ministry. Scouting, as Catholic youth ministry, allows us to provide a safe environment in which the Catholic faith can be taught, practiced and nurtured. Scouting, as a program for all youth, gives us, as Catholics, the opportunity to meet youth in an activity they enjoy and evangelize them in our faith.

As Catholics, we believe that engaging in sexual activity outside of a marriage is immoral (CCC 2396).

What do we, as Catholic Scouters, do now? I encourage you to seek understanding of the resolution, the Church’s teaching on the subject, and to pray for wisdom. Change is hard, especially when we don’t understand why it’s occurring, what it means, and when we aren’t part of the process. NCCS will do its best to respond to your questions and concerns. We will pray for wisdom ourselves. We ask that Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment as the policy does not go into effect until January 1, 2014.

Over the next couple of months, the NCCS will use a task force to develop and execute a plan for insuring a consistent message is delivered to dioceses, parishes, Catholic Scouters and the media and to prepare guidelines to assist diocesan committees in understanding the issues associated with the change in the BSA youth membership standard. One of the action items will be to establish an online Q&A to respond to and collect the questions and concerns that you need answered. In this way, you can help us.

At this moment in history and as part of this Year of Faith, we have an opportunity for prayerful “reflection and rediscovery of the faith”. My hope is that we deal with the challenge in the spirit of Christian charity toward all and the knowledge that the Holy Spirit will guide us with clarity. If you are like me, you joined Scouting to make a difference in the lives of others. Our youth don’t want to leave Scouting. Scouting is still the best program around. Catholic Scouters like you are still very much needed. Let’s continue this important journey together!

Thank you for all you do to promote Scouting as Catholic youth ministry!

Yours in Catholic Scouting,

 

Edward P. Martin
National Chairman (2013-2016)

References

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church (http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-webelieve/ catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/epub/index.cfm), paragraphs 2357-2359, 2396.

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NCCS

REACTION TO POLICY CHANGE IN
MEMBERSHIP STANDARDS FOR THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

National Catholic Committee on Scouting
Thursday, May 23, 2013@ 5:48 PM

For over 100 years, thousands of children in Catholic parishes, schools and fraternal organizations have benefited from chartering Scouting units. The Catholic Church has maintained a strong relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) through the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) for many years and we hope to maintain that relationship.

Today, the voting members of the BSA voted to change the membership standards for its youth members. The BSA proposed in its resolution that "no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." Its membership standards for adult leaders remain unchanged.

The Catholic Church teaches that people who experience a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons. The Church's teaching is clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral. Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching.

Since the change in policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has adequate time to study its effects. The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic Faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan scouting committees.

Ed Martin - National Chair
Father Michael Hanifin - National Chaplain

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May 23, 2014 - American Heritage Girls Dissolve Memorandum of Mutual Support Following BSA Policy Change

Memorandum of Mutual Support - Dissolution Statement

It was with great disappointment that American Heritage Girls, Inc. Board of Trustees received the news of the change to the Boy Scouts of America’s membership standards. It was our sincerest hope the voice of the majority of those associated with the BSA would be heard and that the BSA would continue the amazing 103-year legacy of its founder to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices. Unfortunately, the organization chose to step away from that commitment.
As a result of leaving its time-honored traditions, the BSA has left American Heritage Girls with no choice but to dissolve our Memorandum of Mutual Support. We do so with a heavy heart. We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with BSA through the years. However, the American Heritage Girls Board of Trustees has decided that we cannot in good conscience continue in a formal relationship with the BSA.
As an independent, faith-based leadership and character development organization, we want everyone associated with the American Heritage Girls to know that our board members unanimously affirm the AHG Statement of Faith and its Scriptural foundation, and we are committed to continue providing a safe environment for every girl involved.
We thank you for your commitment to the youth of this great country.
Serving Him,

Michael Tillar
President AHG National Board of Trustees

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

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Upcoming Vote in the BSA Membership Policy

Concern, Commitment, and Courage

1. We have concern as to how our BSA program will maintain the high standards of the past if the vote goes bad.
2. We as the faith based Catholic must continue our commitment to serve our youth as long as we stay within the guid lines of our church.
3. We must have courage to stand up and say enough is enough, and hold fast to our teaching of our faith.

The key point that Bishop Guglielmone made was that there is a big difference between leading a chaste lifestyle and embracing the gay lifestyle. Many of our youth are confused by all of the images portrayed to them by the media. They need strong role models in their lives. In this Year of Faith, we will continue to strengthen the scout's Duty to God by promoting the religious emblems of all faiths. I hope that each of you will continue to provide the necessary leadership to promote our Christian beliefs in the Boy Scouts of America.

From the catechism of the Catholic Church he quoted:

2357 "Homosexuality refers to the relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms throughout the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered".
They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarily. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

2358 "The number of men and women who have deep seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition."

2359 "Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teaches them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection".

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