A recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay leaders should not keep people in South Carolina from being involved in Catholic Scouting, according to Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone.
In an interview with The Miscellany, Bishop Guglielmone said that the July 27 resolution by the Boy Scouts of America still respects the right of Catholic organizations who charter Boy Scout troops to choose leaders according to their religious values.
“There’s no question that Catholics in the Diocese of Charleston should continue to be part of Catholic chartered units, and parishes should be encouraged to charter the units because we have control over what we do,” he said. “It’s important for us to stay involved with Scouting so that we have a voice in the program, and so that we can support our young people who are involved in it.”
Bishop Guglielmone serves as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ liaison with the National Council on Scouting, and said he has heard differing opinions on how deeply the Church should stay involved. The Diocese of Bismarck in North Dakota decided to formally sever all ties with the BSA on Aug. 3.
“We need to see how this is going to play out,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “The best response is to wait and see because for more than 100 years, we as Catholics have been using a program that has been tremendously successful in dealing with our young people.”
It is estimated that nationwide, about 500,000 Catholic youth are involved in Scouting. In South Carolina, about 1,800 young people participate in troops chartered by Catholic parishes and other organizations.
Catholics who have children involved in Boy Scout troops should use their own discretion, Bishop Guglielmone said.
“I give them the same advice I would give to parents with children involved in any organization—it is up to the parents to determine whether or not an organization holds up the values they uphold,” the bishop said. “It becomes a real responsibility for parents to check out the groups their children are involved in and make sure the leadership applies the kind of morals they want for their children.”