Photo: Boy Scouts help distribute Communion at a Catholic Scouting recognition Mass in 2010 at Rochester. (CNS photo/Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier)

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting has issued the following statement after the decision to lift a ban on accepting openly gay Scouts as members:

For over 100 years, thousands of children in Catholic parishes, schools and fraternal organizations have benefited from chartering Scouting units. The Catholic Church has maintained a strong relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) through the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) for many years and we hope to maintain that relationship.

Today, the voting members of the BSA voted to change the membership standards for its youth members. The BSA proposed in its resolution that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Its membership standards for adult leaders remain unchanged.

The Catholic Church teaches that people who experience a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons. The Church’s teaching is clear that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral. Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching.

Since the change in policy will not take effect until January 1, 2014, the National Catholic Committee on Scouting has adequate time to study its effects. The NCCS will determine how it may impact Catholic chartered Scout units and activities. In doing so, we will work within the teachings of our Catholic Faith and with the various local bishops and their diocesan scouting committees.

Ed Martin- National Chair
Father Michael Hanifin-National Chaplain

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