Thursday, August 6, 2015


We're in new territory and I don't know quite what to think of this blanket policy in Bismarck, ND. The Boy Scouts have strong roots throughout the country and in Catholic parishes, my own being no exception and we are a parish with a high number of Eagle Scouts and a strong Boy Scout Troop, very strong and for many, many years.

Should bishops hash things like this out before making autocratic decisions that have ramifications far beyond their own dioceses? Or should bishops be lone rangers, maybe even unwanted prophets, sounding the alarm.

I'm conflicted. We have to to be consistent with what we preach and live but can't some sort of compromise be reached in different parts of the country. Time will tell.

From the diocesan website of Bismarck:
Letter from Bishop: Decision on Boy Scouts of America
August 3, 2015
Dear Faithful Catholics of the Diocese of Bismarck,
Much has happened during the course of the last few weeks. First, I am most grateful to you for your cooperation and support in listening to my letter during Mass this past weekend. The decision on marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court is having real and unwelcome consequences in many areas of our daily lives and I expect that it will only get worse. If you would like to read my letter, click on this link:
Second, and as expected, the Boy Scouts of America voted to admit openly gay adults into the organization to hold leadership positions. While there are indications that the BSA has a religious organization exception, which each local troop could invoke, that will provide no protection for any of our parishes and/or schools, which sponsor troops. Thus, effective immediately, the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Bismarck and each and every one of its parishes, schools and other institutions, is formally disaffiliated with and from the Boy Scouts of America. If your parish sponsors a troop, your priest has been asked to inform those persons associated with the BSA of this action and to inform the BSA itself of this decision. I regret my decision but, in conscience as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Bismarck, I cannot permit our Catholic institutions to accept and participate directly or indirectly in any organization, which has policies and methods, which contradict the authoritative moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
Third, I list here for your consideration acceptable alternatives for our Catholic children and youth, should you wish to offer this in your parish and/or school. There are two very good alternatives to the Girl Scouts of America. They are: American Heritage Girls (, which has a National Catholic Committee; Little Flowers’ Girls Clubs (; and Federation of North American Explorers (
 There are three alternatives to the Boy Scouts of America, which are acceptable. They are: Federation of North American Explorers (; Columbian Squires (; and Trail Life USA (, which has a National Catholic Committee in Front Royal, VA.
As always, I promise of my continued prayers and relying on your own, I remain fraternally yours in Christ Jesus,
Bishop David D. Kagan


qwikness said...

It seems like an overreaction but I'll tell you, they might be free from the influence at the Churches but once they get to a big Jamboree or Camp with other troops, they will come in direct contact with same-sex supporters. Peers who will have a GREAT influence on their impressionable minds. And don't tell me the good little Catholic Boy Scout can evangelize to them. Conservative values are being shut up by political correctness so the path of least resistance is acceptance and assimilation.
I don't have a problem with same sex people. Boys should not be left out. Maybe even same sex troop leaders could have a positive influence but when things get political or pressured, that becomes the problem.
Can a boy scout be taught that same sex practices are immoral? Is that an appropriate time and responsibility of the troop leader? When else would he learn?

qwikness said...

Troops of Saint George looks good.

rcg said...

Why would we want to have young boys learning to identify people by their sexual activities? Of course the bishop has a good idea. Everything the little fellows see is drenched in sex and self pleasure. They need a break from our society to just learn some simple skills and team work and basic social skills. Sometimes a tent peg is just a tent peg. Would I, alternatively, want a scout leader who identifies himself by the sex act he prefers with a woman? Of course not.

Just so you know, the president of the American Boy Scouts is Robert Gates, the same incompetent buffon who was Secretary of Defense for President G. bush after Rumsfeld. Pure politician and no leadership spine at all.

Anonymous said...

I think the Bishop is perfectly right because he has a duty to protect the boys. As we know, the majority of children molested in the Church was done not by pedophiles but by homosexuals who prey on boys of a certain age. I know some will jump on this and say that it wasn't the case that it was pedophiles who did the abusing. But the evidence is plain that the vast majority abused were boys over the age of puberty.

You can imagine the outcry there will be from parents if there is an attack on any boys attending scouting activities, and the parents would be first to blame the Church and say they didn't provide adequate protection and maybe even sue. It is no good shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. There is evidence even in the Army that now permits open homosexuals within their ranks that there have been more sexual assaults male on male than male on women:

"When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon."


Anonymous said...

Why are you conflicted and what is there to think about?

A bishops duty is to care for the souls in his charge by teaching and defending the Catholic Faith. There is no compromise with evil. There is no tolerance for sin.

Why even a moments hesitation Father? Would you hesitate for one moment if an anti Black organization wanted to use the parish hall? Either you believe and teach the Faith fearlessly and without compromise or you don't. It's not that hard.

Paul said...

Allowance can help change the "tone" that Pope Francis has discussed previously.


Allowance, can permit the homosexuals to "bear witness" so when the children go back to their churches and parents they can express outrage when a practicing homosexual teacher gets fired and the local parish is left "wondering why".

This battle for so-called "equality" is really a battle for our children's souls.

George said...

The bishop did the right thing. There are a number of other acceptable alternatives available for young people.
The Defense Department sexual abuse survey referenced by Jan above is sobering and really stunning to me.

John Nolan said...

Here in England, where the scouting movement started, we no longer have Boy Scouts; the scouts admit girls, although the single-sex Girl Guides, also founded by Baden-Powell, are still going strong. Girls may exclude boys, but not the other way round. There are no organizations left that cater exclusively for boys; girls have infiltrated the Army, Sea, and Air Cadets, and even the Guild of St Stephen (altar servers).

Presumably scout leaders have criminal record checks and if they are honest about their sexuality to their employers (the same applies to schoolmasters) they are unlikely to pose a risk to boys - it's the 'closet queers' who are more likely to offend. One assumes that they would not advertise their sexual proclivities to the boys in their charge, let alone proselytize, for the simple reason that the boys would not trust them. Boys are quick to spot signs of sexual deviancy and no amount of PC indoctrination will alter their instinctive revulsion concerning homosexual behaviour.

Anonymous said...

A Bishop made an executive decision...hooray!
and he offered good alternative organizations.

He knows there will be loud whining, but is strong enough to lead his sheep in the right direction and know that he is doing the right thing, and willing to ride out the storm of complaining that he knows will ensue for a time.

Personally...I wish our diocese would do the exact same..and I imagine Jesus might not mind if we did.

Just my 2 cents worth,

Jusadbellum said...

As an Eagle and OA member I've been watching this slow motion train wreck since 2012...

The BSA telegraphed that this would happen in 2013 when they abandoned the legal and moral high ground they had reached at the Supreme Court and changed policy to allow for openly gay boys.

Since the beginning I'm certain there were gay men and older teens in Scouting. But they weren't "Out" about it so it wasn't a factor (except in the abuse cases). If anyone suspected 16 year old Jimmy's feelings, it was discretely handled between parents and scout masters. No one was shamed or drummed out. There was no bullying. The Scouting program simply doesn't lend itself to conversations about sex and sexual attraction. So a 16 year old suddenly coming "out" about his sexual attractions is itself artificial and forced. It's not neutral and live and let live. It's a declaration demanding a reaction (and in this case demanding unconditional agreement that GBTQ attractions and ideations must be healthy and good and no one can disagree).

Thus to change policy and allow for boys to openly share their sexual appetites with peers (which again is totally uncalled for and artificial) was BSA declaring that "morally straight" means nothing. If little Johnny declared his porn addiction or declared his intention to sleep with Mary Jane in my troops, he would have been taken aside by the adults, his parents would be brought into the loop and he'd have been quietly and discretely asked to desist from this talk as immoral....and if he refused, he'd be quietly dismissed. But now, now the policy is that any sexual appetite is a-OK and may be shared with peers and that no one can disagree. It completely subverts the whole point of the Scout Oath and Law.

But the powers that be did not see this. They saw 100 years of investment in the program and decided it wouldn't get worse, that it wouldn't matter, and that it was something we could live with since "their" troop would probably never have an openly gay kid in it.

BSA is structured so that boys lead other boys. The Patrol leader and Senior Patrol Leader tend to be older scouts, teenagers in High School. They are looked up to and so have a much more direct impact on their peers than the adults do. So by declaring that a 17 year old Life Scout may declare his SSA is OK and not a problem to be discretely handled by parents and adult leaders, to declare that BSA as such has no opinion on the matter is to declare that the orientation is OK.

Now the Church chose to read the policy in as narrow a way possible so as to avoid having to take a stand. The path of least resistance was to do nothing. But in 2013 they declared that openly gay leaders would be a bridge too far....while studiously doing NOTHING to prepare for a plan B should the line be crossed.

The stupidity of this was breathtaking. The first time an openly gay Life Scout became Eagle and timed out by turning 18, it was obvious he'd immediately sign up to be an assistant scout master and sue BSA for irrational discrimination since they were OK with his open homosexuality while a boy having direct, regular contact with his peers, why would they balk at his having less of an immediate impact as an adult observer?

In other words, the truce in 2013 could not possibly last but the NCCS declared that it would and so planned to not have a plan for when that line was crossed.

Thus BSA had well founded reason to believe the Catholic Church was bluffing...and as it turns out, the bishops WERE bluffing since BSA has now crossed the line they swore they wouldn't and nothing has happened.

I think it's a given that the NCCS will not abandon BSA. Parents, the laity and individual pastors will have to do the heavy lifting on this for a generation before the bishops get on board.

Rover Scout said...

I think it's a given that the NCCS will not abandon BSA.

The NCCS exists for the BSA. In fact "National Catholic Committee on Scouting" is a registered trademark owned by the BSA. So even if the higher-ups at the NCCS weren't deeply invested in the BSA, the NCCS can't withdraw its support for the BSA.

I'm sure that the structure of the BSA is a cause of Bp. Kagan's action. A parish (or school) doesn't merely sponsor a BSA troop, as a chartering organization it actually owns the troop. (Interestingly, Trail Life USA and the American Heritage Girls -- but not the Federation of North-American Explorers -- have a similar structure.)

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I'm surprised that a modern day Roman Catholic bishop could make such a decisive statement! Usually they are very polished, polite, and non-threatening. I was amazed.