|I can't help but wonder how much the existence of this group for girls is influencing the attack on the Girl Scouts.|
I just gotta give our clerical leadership credit. There is no women's group, even one composed only of girls, that is under their radar when it comes to birth control or potentially remote links to Planned Parenthood. The following is an edited version of an article from Catholic News Services. I couldn't help but notice it was released with a Philadelphia byline. I find that some what ironic since Philadelphia is also the place where a criminal trial is taking place concerning Catholic clerical men behaving badly with Catholic altar boys. Nothing like diverting the official Catholic spotlight in another direction, but to the Girl Scouts? That's a new definition for grasping at straws. The following excerpt begins about half way through the article.
Dialogue between Catholic leaders, Girl Scouts addresses criticisms
By Christie L. Chicoine Catholic News Service PHILADELPHIA (CNS) 4/24/2012
......Criticism of the Girl Scouts as an organization has surfaced off and on over the last several years and earlier this year made the rounds again on the Internet.
In response GSUSA has strongly stated it "does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood and does not plan to create one" and takes no position on abortion or birth control. "Parents and volunteer troop leaders in Catholic churches," it said, "have total control of the Girl Scout programming their girls receive."
Given the large number of Catholics involved in Girl Scouts, such concerns prompted the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at its mid-March meeting to discuss GSUSA's "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and questions about some of its materials and resources. (Nice to know that when it comes to girls and women, possible problematic relationships, seem to hold more importance than the real ones involving clerical men.)
In a March 28 letter to his fellow bishops, committee chairman Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of South Bend-Fort Wayne, Ind., said some questions may need to be answered at the national level and others at the local level.
Among other actions, he said the committee wants to develop a resource bishops can share with priests, youth ministers, pro-life directors, educators and others in their diocese on Catholic identity for troops and guidance for parents....
.....The bishop invited Robert McCarty, executive director of the Washington-based National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Washington, and Kathleen Carver, the federation's associate director and communications director, to the meeting to give committee members their perspective on the claims made about the Girl Scouts.
The federation's website, www.nfcym.org, has a question-and-answer section on the issue, and according to McCarty, dialogue between the national Girl Scouts office in New York and the federation has been ongoing.
McCarty told CNS April 9 that the bishops' Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth would convene a group soon to discuss what resources and tools would help create dialogue among church and Girl Scout leaders "more intentionally" and provide clear guidelines for predominantly Catholic troops where "Catholic teaching is honored and at the forefront."
Beyond the church's relationship with Girl Scouts is the bigger issue of "how does the church engage secular organizations?" McCarty stated. "We advocate for church teaching through direct engagement and honest respectful dialogue."
In an earlier interview with CNS, McCarty said he has met with Girl Scout leaders in New York to convey concerns the federation has heard from the field, though he rejected the claim that Girl Scouts promotes Planned Parenthood.
Other criticism has been directed at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS, which, for example, has advocated for emergency contraception for women in Third World countries, McCarty said. GSUSA is one of WAGGS' 145 member organizations. (Perhaps this is because in third world countries many of those 'women' are chronologically the ages of Girl Scouts.)
In the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Deacon Dana Allen Nearmyer, a consultant for evangelization and Catholic formation in the archdiocese, said Catholic leaders are concerned by the fact the GSUSA sends money to WAGGGS.
"We've said that's not acceptable," Deacon Nearmyer told CNS in a recent interview. "Our recommendation would be that they would stop funding the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts." .....(What is sent to WAGGS is investment earnings, not dues or registration fees.)
......"We're certainly not looking at banning Girl Scouts, unless that's a directive," Deacon Nearmyer told CNS.
"We appreciate being part of the conversation and moving the curriculum of Girl Scouting to its more traditional, original roots -- protecting families. We also value their national connection and notoriety," he said.
"But ... at some point, if parishes are looking for something that's a more substantial faith organization, Girl Scouts is only going to be able to carry them so far because they're a secular organization.
I do have to agree with Deacon Nearmyer, the Girl Scouts was never intended to be a religious organization, much less a distinctly Catholic organization. I just wish someone would inform the USCCB Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, so they could investigate real threats to family life and youth. Perhaps they could start with their own membership.
For me the bigger question is why this concern about the Girl Scouts at this particular time? Why take the culture war on women's reproductive rights down to the Girl Scout level? I strongly suspect it's because there's a new group on the block, the Christian based, American Heritage Girls. This group enjoys the support of the Knights of Columbus, Focus on the Family and other conservative religious groups. The very kinds of groups who don't have a problem with denying young girl rape victims in the Sudan emergency contraception.