“I Refuse to Administer Communion to Any Boy Scout of America…”

Hard to believe, but on the same day, I encountered these two wildly disparate items. They almost gave me whiplash.

First, via Mark Shea, a priest blogger draws a line in the sand:

A Boy Scout has to swear, on one’s honor, before God and everyone, to uphold the revised Boy Scout Law of celebrating homosexuality. The BSA has made itself declared public enemies of the Church. So, no, I would not administer Holy Communion to any Boy Scout coming up in uniform. They are now just as bad as the Rainbow Sash crowd and all other militant homosexualists. They would have to renounce their membership first and not wear their uniforms.

Well.  This is wrong on a lot of levels—though I am impressed that this priest has the remarkable gift of being able to discern the state of someone’s soul based purely on clothing.

Then, a few minutes later I read this response to the Boy Scouts story:

The U.S. Catholic Church’s top liaison to the Boy Scouts of America is telling Catholic Scout leaders and troop sponsors that the BSA’s new policy welcoming gay Scouts “is not in conflict with Catholic teaching” and they should continue to support scouting programs.

“Scouting is still the best youth-serving program available to all youth,” Edward P. Martin, chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, wrote in a May 29 letter addressed to “fellow Catholic Scouters.”

“We should be encouraged that the change in BSA’s youth membership standard is not in conflict with Catholic teaching,” Martin said, asking that “Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment.”

Martin said that despite some concerns, the NCCS had taken a neutral stance on a resolution adopted on May 23 by the BSA’s National Council.

In balloting that was seen as a potential watershed in the culture wars, more than 60 percent of the 1,400 members of the BSA council voted to allow gay Scouts while still barring gay men from being Scout leaders. The policy change takes effect Jan. 1.

Martin said that in the week following the vote, he and his colleagues consulted with the BSA, with other faith-based Scouting groups and with Catholic experts, and weighed feedback on social media before declaring themselves satisfied that the new policy would not conflict with Catholic teaching.

One of the experts Martin cited was Edward Peters, a canon lawyer popular with church conservatives who wrote that while he disliked the new policy it was not contrary to church doctrine.

Martin noted that Scouting policies still bar sexual activity of any kind, and that the Boy Scouts are still a religiously oriented group that prohibits members from promoting “any social or political position or agenda.” He also noted that many young Catholics themselves do not want to leave the Boy Scouts.

Read more. 

Late today, the priest in the original posting, Father George David Byers, S.S.L., S.T.D, dissected the statement from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.


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