Catholic group will accept Scouts’ decision to allow girls to join

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IRVING,
Texas (CNS) — The leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which has its headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Irving, said
they “accept and work with the new membership policy of the Boy Scouts of
America” to admit girls.

“We
were informed this morning” of the policy change, said an Oct. 11 statement by George
Sparks, the national chairman of the group, and the committee’s national
chaplain, Father Kevin Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New
York.

“Once
we have had more time to review the policy and a chance to consult our national
membership, we will be able to comment further about how this new policy will
reflect changes in the makeup of Catholic-chartered units,” they said.

The Boy
Scouts currently have 2.3 million members, less than half than the 5 million
they reached in the 1970s, at the peak of the post-World War II baby boom.

The
vote to accept girls as members was unanimous, according to a spokeswoman for
the Boy Scouts.

The Boy
Scouts allowed gay members in 2015, gay troop leaders in 2015 and
transgender members last January.

“It is
the mission of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting to utilize and
ensure the constructive use of the program of the Boy Scouts of America as a
viable form of youth ministry with the Catholic youth of our nation,” said the statement
from Sparks and Father Smith.

“The
National Catholic Committee on Scouting seeks to sustain and strengthen the
relationship between the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church and to
work cooperatively with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry and
various other groups involved in youth ministry in the United States.”

Girl
Scouts leaders expressed displeasure over the summer when the Boy Scouts sought
advice from its 270 councils on whether to accept girls. Girl Scouts of the
USA’s president, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, in a letter to her Boy Scouts
counterpart, Randall Stephenson, said the Boy Scouts should stick to recruiting
“the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts.”

Joseph
Carballo, 70, a member of St. Helena Parish in the Bronx, New York, has two
grown sons who were both Eagle Scouts. “And we all have the same view: no
girls,” he told The New York Times Oct. 11.

“Boys
and girls should have separate organizations for activities,” Carballo added.
“There is an organization for girls. It’s called the Girl Scouts.”

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