USCCB releases resource guide on Girl Scouts for Catholic parishes
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Responding to concerns about Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts, a U.S. bishops’ committee released key points from its dialogue with Girl Scout leaders outlining major concerns of church leaders and the national organization’s responses.
The aim of the resource, issued April 2 by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, was not to support or oppose Catholic involvement with Girl Scouts of the USA, known as GSUSA, but to provide local bishops, pastors, youth leaders and parents with necessary information to determine their level of involvement.
Catholics have been affiliated with Girl Scouts for 100 years and there are an estimated 400,000 Catholic girls among the nation’s 3 million Girl Scouts. In the past few years, questions about the organization have sparked online discussions, boycotts of Girl Scout cookies and the ousting of troops from Catholic parishes.
Concerns have been raised about the Girl Scouts’ relationship with Planned Parenthood and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. There also have been questions about the organization’s policy on human sexuality and contraception and its program materials and resources.
The bishops’ committee spent one year gathering information about concerns and another year in dialogue with Girl Scout leaders in an effort to clarify the issues.
“The exchanges between USCCB staff and GSUSA staff were pleasant, informative and respectful. GSUSA staff was generous with their time, indicated a strong desire and willingness to work more closely with the Catholic Church in the United States,” said the committee, noting that the resource materials are not only posted on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website, www.usccb.org, but also the Girl Scouts site, www.girlscouts.org.
In providing the information it obtained, the committee said the decision for Catholics to participate or not in Girl Scouts is a local one and that “diocesan bishops have the final authority over what is appropriate for Catholic Scouting in their dioceses.”
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GSUSA and Catholic Church Relationship
Girl Scouts of the USA is proud of its 100-year relationship with the Catholic Church and is very pleased the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has included on its website pages titled “Questions and Answers About Girl Scouts of the USA and About Catholic Scouting” and “Background on Girl Scouts of the USA and USCCB Conversations.” The following documents and resources will help you better understand GSUSA’s relationship with the Catholic Church and gain useful information about some of our programs.
A lot of resources here: girlscouts.org/program/basics/faith/catholic_church_relationship.asp
And from the US Catholic Bishops: