And Now It Begins: Catholic Groups Rise Up to Replace the Boy Scouts

And Now It Begins: Catholic Groups Rise Up to Replace the Boy Scouts May 24, 2013

Within twenty-four hours of the Boy Scouts’ big announcement that they will open the membership to openly gay Scouts, fathers and concerned citizens are stepping up with plans to organize new ways to gather young males around the campfire for marshmallows and song.  I thought it would happen—but I’m amazed, frankly, that it’s happening so soon.

I was going to tell you about two of the existing boys’ groups, which have a well-defined mission statement and a history of successful retreats and camp-outs and sporting events.  Today I learned about two new groups bursting onto the horizon:  groups which are rooted in faith and freedom, character and compassion.

So here’s my list of four boys clubs which encourage leadership and personal holiness, and which are still a whole bunch of fun.  I’m sure the list is by no means exhaustive; in communities across America, men are planning, working, developing new ideas.


I’ve known of this organization (named for the Greek word for “rock”) for years, and have always been impressed.  According to their website:

Kepha members practice brotherhood via monthly retreats, shared daily prayers and a commitment to our 5 Anchors:  ApologeticsBrotherhoodCharityMortification and Prayer

We believe in apologetics, brotherhood, charity, mortification, and prayer.

We believe, like Ignatius of Loyola, in giving until it hurts and not counting the costs.

We believe in Confession, the Eucharist, and the Communion of Saints.

We believe in dynamic orthodoxy and infectious joy.

We believe in the Gospel of Life.

We believe in doing as Brothers what we would reluctantly do alone.

We believe, along with Dominic Savio, in “Death, but not sin!”

We believe in helping and loving the least of our brothers.

We believe in an Iron Will that does not bend and does not fail in God’s projects.

We believe in praying hard and playing hard.
We believe in Jesus Christ and the keys He gave to Peter, the Rock.

Kepha differs from the Scouts in that boys and fathers always participate together, bringing them closer together in fellowship and faith.

In a phone interview a few weeks ago, I heard wonderful stories about their discipline (such as required cold showers during their camp-outs) and their social responsibility (visiting nursing homes and hospitals, and performing other charitable works).  I laughed to hear about “Yawns For Jesus”—the two-hour Eucharistic adoration at 2:00 a.m.


This “junior” division of the Knights of Columbus is intended for young men ages 10 through 18.  There are more than 25,000 Squires around the world, in more than 1,500 circles.  The Squires involves young men in programs to benefit the Church and the community, as well as in recreational and social activities.  The website describes the organization’s goals:

1. The Squires is designed to develop young men as leaders who understand their Catholic religion, who have a strong commitment to the Church and who are ready, willing and capable of patterning their lives after the Youth Christ.

2. A Squires circle must be sponsored by a council or assembly, but is run by and for young men, under the guidance of several Knights, who serve as counselors. Squires are to be leaders, thus, to the degree they are able, they are given the opportunity to lead, by running their own meetings, investing their own members, setting their circle’s agenda and implementing their program of activities.

3. Squires have fun. They meet new friends; they travel, play sports and socialize. Squires are serious-minded, too. Squires are involved in promoting vocations, marching in defense of unborn life, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, supporting Special Olympics and promoting Catholic education, among countless other activities. Thus, the Squires circle is an athletic team, a youth group, a social club, a cultural and civic improvement association, a management training course, a civil rights organization and a spiritual development program all rolled into one.

The organization’s website explains:

OnMyHonor.Net is the nationwide coalition of concerned parents, Scout Leaders, Scouting Donors, Eagle Scouts and other members of the Boy Scouts of America who are united in their support of Scouting’s current membership policies and their opposition to the proposed resolution which requires open homosexuality in the Boy Scouts.  Their members are determined to avoid the mistakes which the Girl Scouts have made, with changes ranging from secularization to promotion of a gay agenda, supporting explicit sex education, and support for abortion.   


Scouts of St. George. 

Dr. Taylor Marshall, Chancellor of the College of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More in Fort Worth, Texas, has just announced plans to begin this new Catholic version of the Scouts.  Taylor is seeking collaborators across the country who can help him to bring this new organization to life.  Here, from Taylor’s website, is the “mini-manifesto” for the new Catholic Scouting organization:

 Here’s the mini-manifesto in 7 points:

  1. The Scouts of Saint George must be Catholic and acknowledge every jot and tittle of the magisterium of the Church – and be in full communion with the Holy Father. 
  2. A personal relationship with Christ and the growth in manly virtue will be at the heart of the Scouts of Saint George.
  3. The Scouts of Saint George will be like the Boy Scouts of America with hiking, fishing, camping, merit badges, and a highest rank (equivalent somehow to Eagle Scout). Same format and structure.
  4. The Scouts of Saint George must have protection from the government, which means it must be  grassroots. It cannot be a non-profit 501(c)3. Otherwise, we are under government regulation and pressure in the years to come. We must avoid influence from lobbyists and governmental powers to compromise (as has happened with the BSA). Where there is no money, there is less pressure.
  5. The Scouts of Saint George will be free and open-source. Like the original Baden-Powell, all you’ll need is the book, uniform, and badges. That’s it. The rest is grassroots. Fathers and sons organize and simply register or seek recognition from the other Scouts of Saint George.
  6. The Scouts of Saint George won’t reinvent the wheel. Traditional scouting works. Why change it? We’re just going to preserve the tradition and import a Catholic identity.
  7. The Scouts of Saint George is global. My goal is to get Pope Francis to approve it and recognize it.
  8. Why Saint George? I have a devotion to him and he’s the exemplar for young men in the categories of courage and virginity? We need young men to slay the dragons of our era. Wouldn’t you agree?

Visit Taylor Marshall’s blog, Canterbury Tales, for more information.


Oh–and read my original post on the historic Boy Scout vote.


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  • My son is three and a half, and I envisioned sending him to the boy scouts when of age, if he wanted to, of course. I have serious qualms now. Why do they have to ask what a child’s sexuality is? My parish sponsors the Boy Scouts. I wonder if they will continue. All I know is I will consider all options.

    • Jennifer

      Nowhere does it say that anyone is to be asked their sexual orientation. The resolution states that a boy can’t be denied membership on the grounds of being openly homosexual.

      • RoodAwakening

        The question here is, how is a KID defined as “openly” homosexual?

        • FrMike Santangelo

          Actually the question is: where do the words “openly homosexual” even appear in the resolution?

          • Allan Daniel

            Actually the question is how can you be so naive to believe that this “controversy” is not the work of militant homosexual activists?

          • Micha_Elyi

            Ever notice that the perverts never built their own organization? They can only hijack and steal what their betters have built.

      • That’s fair and if children/parents kept that sort of thing to themselves I wouldn’t have a problem with it. My problems are two fold. (1) Children that age shouldn’t have sexuality thrust into their consciouness. I seriously doubt that a ten year od knows weather he’s gay or straight, and now my child will have to be confronted with that. (2) The gay groups have pushed this to make a social point. Shame on them for using children this way. I’m resistant to that sort of coersion.

  • Mead

    I think now is the time for the Knights of Columbus to really help bring these groups forward. If you think about it, this new change in policy might be a blessing in disguise. If the Squires are pushed as a very real option at a time when people are looking for an alternative, it has the possibility to bring many boys closer to the Church. Bring them somewhere that they can learn values while also having fun with friends.

    • Ian Joseph

      In a military perspective, the Knights of Columbus can be considered as a cavalry/dragoon unit. Maybe it’s time to organize not just “scout” units, but train them to become “infantry” or even as “artillery” units….

      Just saying….

      And oh, I would like to have an organization like this established in the Philippines. ^_^

    • John Schreiber

      I agree to a point. I am a Knight and my sons will be joining our Squires Circle. I’m looking forward to their experiencing all that has to offer, but it’s not the same as the scouts.

      What I think we need to do as Catholics is to pray and ask God to help us find a way to exert more influence in our culture today. Before making this change, the BSA consulted the LDS because the LDS currently makes up some 25% of scout groups in the BSA.

      I would have liked to have seen the USCCB make an announcement regarding this change and provide direction at the Diocsean level on how the Church is to handle this issue. It’s been said time and time again, if we can present a united front as Catholics, we will be able to move the world. I’m probably preaching to the choir but unless the laity stops contradicting the bishops of the church we will never be able to present that united front.

  • Faithr

    My daughter is in the American Heritage Girls group, which is the Christian alternative to Girl Scouts. Wonderful, wonderful program. They had a relationship with Boy Scouts which they immediately dissolved about hearing the news. They sent this link along with their letter explaining their action.

    A parish near me has the Squires program. I’ve heard very good things about it.

  • destrecht

    My only concerns are that-
    1. There are so many of them, I’d like it if they came together (strength in numbers)
    2. While I’m Catholic, some of the boys in my son’s troop aren’t.
    3. Insurance. Having the insurance through the boy scouts was nice. How hard would it be to have something similar?

  • Ann Margaret Lewis

    Another Catholic scouting group is the Federation of North American Explorers, but they have existed for some time now. They are out of Europe originally, and primarily in Canada now with one troop in the US. This is scouting the Lord Baden-Powell way. They were hoping for more organic growth, but my guess is they’re going to get shelled with inquiries:

    • The other groups mentioned in this article, while all well and good, are not to be confused with Scouting, and are unlikely to appeal to expatriates from the BSA. The FNE is an exception, and may well attract Catholic units seeking to prevail under a new banner. In addition, its international parent organization, the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe – Federation of European Scouting (UIGSE-FSE), founded in 1956, is in 20 different countries, and was awarded canonical status in 2003 as an “association of the faithful of pontifical right. Not too shabby.

  • FrMike Santangelo

    Too many people are reacting to either what they think or what they want the resolution passed by the BSA to say and not what it actually says. Here is a link to the actual resolution:

    Regarding Dr. Marshall’s mini-manifesto which states that members would “acknowledge every jot and tittle of the magisterium of the Church” how would they respond to a boy with same-sex attraction (SSA) who wished to join? Would the ban the boy simply because of his SSA? How would that reconcile with the Catechism?

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 2358 states: “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 accepted 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.”

    Would banning a boy because of SSA be “accepting them with respect, compassion and sensitivity?” Does it avoid “every sign of unjust discrimination?”

    Here is a link to the response from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (of which I am a member):

    For the first time, with this resolution the BSA have drawn the distinction between orientation and action. A distinction that the Church has always maintained. The resolution comes much closer to the approach that the Church has taken. In the Church we have taught that the orientation is objectively disorder, yes, but it is only the activity that is deemed to be sinful.

    Most of the reactions to the resolution do not draw that distinction. There are heated and emotional responses on both sides of the issue. What is needed most right now is reason and balance.

    • Allan Daniel

      There is not a reason in the world that a Boy Scout’s sexual identity should be made public. If a boy belonging to the Scouts makes known a homosexual inclination he is doing so as an advocate attempting to make a moral evil acceptable to society. We Christians have the vocation of alerting others to evil and weeding it out when found. Christ did not have your scruples, father, about admonishing evil deeds.
      To accept evil at the same moral level as good is in itself evil.

      Syrupy language about the discomfort of homosexuals is misguided. We all suffer to be Christians. A certain violence is administered to us all as we fight our way through the evils of this world with the hope of rest in the next.

      The great evil of sexual perversion is something that ought to be shameful; it ought to be shunned. Persons caught up in this sin must be make to understand the true nature of this sin. Failure to do so places the soul at risk of eternal damnation.

      As for the milquetoast “instruction” offered to us by the CCC, I suggest you look to Christ, St Paul, and the saints to see whether they concur.

      • FrMike Santangelo

        Yes let’s look to Christ. It would seem to me that the harshest words for the self-righteous. When sinners approached Christ He did not turn His back on them but encouraged them to repent and “sin no more”

        Christ also passed on His authority to the Apostles. Sorry you don’t find the CCC acceptable but it is the authentic teaching of the Magesterium. It is consistent with Scripture and Tradition and you reject it at your own peril.

        • Allan Daniel

          You are side-stepping the issue with an immaterial and unstated wisp of Holy Scripture. It’s a trick we learned in my college debating club. Sometimes effective, but meaningless for the cultivation of truth.

          If you want to determine where Christ said a unrepentant sinner cannot be saved, close your eyes, open the Bible and point any place your finger wants to go. A repentant sinner does not advertise his sin–he advertised his repentance. There is no reason we should know that a boy is homosexual. Trust me, it really is not a requirement to join the Scouts.

          Homosexuality is a serious sin that must be repented of. It is absurd to suggest that homosexuals in open sin, who chose to reveal their sin to the public, ought to be treated the same as those who do not advertise their sins. If you really are a priest, you must know that smacks of scandal.

          Please don’t suggest that the CCC is infallible! It has already been revised twice because of misstatements and lack of clarity. If you need an official catechism with the odor of infallibility, go to Trent, and then read the CCC in light of it.

          • FrMike Santangelo

            You don’t need to tell me what the requirements to join Scouting are. At 45 I have been involved in Scouting (almost) consistently since I was 8.

            Your assertion that homosexuality is a sin is contrary to Church teaching. You assertion that the CCC has to be infallible before you have to follow it is also contrary to Church teaching.

          • FrMike Santangelo

            Also, the resolution clearly states that since the BSA is a youth organization any sexual activity be it heterosexual or homosexual is contrary to the ideals of Scouting. A homosexual in “open sin” has violated that and can be banned from Scouting.

    • Bummed out Scouter

      Yes father, I’ve read the Catechism and the BSA resolution. You give the BSA resolution the benefit of the doubt and a parsing disconnected from reality and context, but imply that Marshall’s project would reject SSA boys when he said no such thing (Would they ban the boy simply because of his SSA?) Marshall’s a former Episcopalian. He’s been to this dance before, and he knows how the Gay Activist agenda of infiltrate, subvert, marginalize and destroy works. As a former Cubmaster and current ASM, knowing how BSA works and the broader context of Gay Activism, his read is dead bang on and yours is willfully naive.

      • FrMike Santangelo

        I guess Dr. Marshall would have no problem with the resolution as written then and is acting out of his concerns about what might happen next. The only way to insure that those concerns won’t develop in his new group is an outright ban on anyone with SSA. That conflicts with his statement that they will follow every jot and tittle of Magisterial teaching.

      • FrMike Santangelo
        • Aside from his brilliant work elsewhere, inasmuch as he considers the BSA, what the resolution actually says, and all that the operative terminology actually entails — yes.

    • Steve M

      So how is this supposed to play out in practice? I have read the resolution and the CCC. What is the practical application of the resolution. If a scout makes an announcement that he has a SSA then it seems he should be allowed to remain in the BSA. If the scout instead announces that he is gay is this sufficient to indicate that he has crossed the line. I am 100% on board with the enforcement of morally straight. If a scout game to an Eagle Board with a child fathered out of wedlock then this should disqualify them. It can be a good thing to not act in the heat of battle but to step back and see how a situation develops. I agree. If the intent of the resolution is that a scout puts on his uniform and announces he is gay and as a result he is disqualified from scouting and advancement to Eagle then we are all set. If the burden of proof is placed on the the scouting organization or orthe rparents to prove that a scout claiming to be gay is actively particiapting in the sexual conduct then we are back to all stop. You are clearly passionate about this situation. I am also passionate about Scouting. Instead of telling us to not worry explain how this resolution will work in practice. It looks like calling homosexuality okay but I am willing to be educated that it does uphold the morally straight aspect of the Oath.

  • Ricardo

    It is naive to think that the latest BSA resolution allowing openly homosexual boys to enter the BSA is merely a matter of accommodation and charity. Sorry folks but it’s a stepping stone to inclusivity and will inevitably lead to gay scoutmasters… after all, if not gay scouts, they will ask, why not gay scoutmasters? Isn’t that the history of the gay lobby worldwide, to penetrate traditional institutions and change them to conform to their agenda. Hasn’t anyone learned from the homosexual (marriage) issue?

    • JoFro

      And I will not be surprised if they get sued by a gay scout who wishes to become a scout leader – if it goes to the Supreme Court, it will become a case of discrimination and the Court will force the change. In this way, the BSA leadership will then say that “look, we’re forced to do this but see we really tried to compromise” – which is exactly what the BSA wants to happen. The Mormons and the Catholics both seem too naive to think this will not happen!

  • Joan

    Blue Knights Catholic Boys’ Club (Boy’s version of Little Flowers Girls’ Club) has been around for about 15 years. Go to for free info CD. We also have a facebook page:

  • Sarah

    While not specifically Catholic, some other established Christian boys’ scouting-type organizations are Boys’ Brigade and the Royal Rangers.

  • wahoomama87

    Kathy — my boys belong to a national organization called Conquest Club for Boys. Also a great organization along the same lines. We dropped boys scounts about 8 years ago to do Conquest and have never looked back.

  • AugustineThomas

    It looks like the future of the Scouts is clear.. Another government owned, overfunded leftist entity for leftist children only.. Oh well! As usual the religious folk will go out and found thriving organizations that don’t need government funding and then the professional government bloodsuckers will try to “save” those groups from their “bigotry”..

  • Joe

    If you are concerned about this resolution, I highly recommend checking out the Blue Knights Boys Club. Blue Knights is a great Catholic program oriented around earning virtues and learning about the saints in a fun scouting-type environment. You can find more information by going to

  • MQubed

    One aspect of the Boy Scouts that I’ve always liked is their accessibility regardless of faith tradition – the list of Religious Emblems is very impressive! It’s a shame that we may lose the opportunity for religious tolerance (boys of different faiths working and interacting with each other peacefully and/or learning to do so) in our search for a replacement program.

  • Michael G

    The scouts are a sad joke these days. Back when my father was in the Boy Scouts there was one adult troop leader. Now, while the kids camp, all their fathers sit around another campfire. My troop even had a MOTHER who insisted on coming. The scouts should allow gays in, but should ban women and fathers who were not scouts themselves.