Planning to buy Girl Scout cookies? The head of the St. Louis archdiocese is disbanding the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and cutting off ties with the organization.
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson indicated a number of concerns regarding the Girl Scouts and its parent organization, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) by issuing a letter. Promotion of contraception and ‘abortion rights’ on behalf of its girl members, the majority of whom are minors seemed to be among its main concerns. He wrote,
“It is, however, becoming harder to assure these same results from the Girl Scout program. Girl Scouts is exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior and it is clear to me that as they move in the ways of the world it is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values. We must stop and ask ourselves – is Girl Scouts concerned with the total well-being of our young women? Does it do a good job forming the spiritual, emotional, and personal well-being of Catholic girls?”
Additionally, he aims at the Girl Scouts’ parent organization, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), as well as its support for groups like Oxfam and Amnesty International, which he says supports contraception and abortion rights, reports the Minnesota Public Radio.
He also objects to increasing acceptance of gay and transgender individuals in scouting. There is a concern over Girl Scouts’ recent positions on welcoming active homosexuals and transgender youth. He writes,
“In addition, recent concerns about GSUSA and their position on and inclusion of transgender and homosexual issues are proving problematic. Our culture is becoming increasingly intolerant of a Catholic worldview regarding these issues. While Catholics are called to treat all people with compassion and mercy, we must at the same time be mindful of whom we allow to teach and form our youth and the messages they present.”
The letter borders on demanding an end to Girl Scout meetings at parishes, a common gathering site in the heavily Catholic St. Louis region, according to the Denver Post. He writes in the letter,
“I take all of these concerns very seriously. Therefore, I am asking each pastor that allows Girl Scout troops to meet on parish property to conduct a meeting with troop leadership to review these concerns and discuss implementing alternative options for the formation of our girls. Our primary obligation is to help our girls grow as women of God. Several alternative organizations exist, many of which have a Catholic or Christian background. For more information on each of these organizations and a more detailed listing of ongoing concerns, please visit archstl.org/scouting. I ask that you carefully study each organization and strongly consider offering one of these programs in your parish instead of Girl Scouts.”
Carlson’s letter said the archdiocese and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have been investigating concerns about the Girl Scouts of the USA and the parent organization, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, for several years. Carlson writes,
“Effective immediately, I am disbanding the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and instead forming a Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that will be charged with ministry to all girls in various organizations. While continuing to serve our Catholic girls involved in various scouting programs, this committee will also reflect our ongoing commitment to educating and forming all young women.”
It also answers the question on its website,
“Each person must act in accord with their conscience. It is also our duty to form our consciences and learn the issues.”
But it goes on to add, the following.
“There is a licensing fee attached to each box of Girl Scout cookies produced, paid to GSUSA. Licensing fees paid to GSUSA on all trademarked Girl Scout items (cookies, Girl Scout curriculum books and badges, ice creams, coffee creamers, etc.) amounts to millions of dollars every year. On average, only 10-20% of the total cookie revenue remains with the troop selling the cookies.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops began investigating the Girl Scouts of the USA in 2012, after lawmakers in Indiana and Alaska publicly called the Scouts into question, and after the organization was berated in a series aired by a Catholic broadcast network.
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