In a statement released Friday morning to priests and deacons of the Diocese of Lafayette on the new Boy Scout policy allowing gay boys to be scouts, the Most Rev. Michael Jarrell clarified what he says has been inaccurate reporting by the national media — that "openly gay" young men will be admitted.
Jarrell also made it clear that the Catholic Church teaches that people with same-sex attraction should be treated with respect and dignity; more important, he expressed that the new policy is not an obstacle to the church's continued sponsorship of 42 local scouting units.
Below is his statement:
National media have reported that the Boy Scouts have changed their policy and will admit “openly gay” young men. I note that the policy adopted does not use those words. It states: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boys Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
I concur with a statement released a few days ago and updated on May 23rd by The National Catholic Committee on Scouting. It is posted on their website. It states, in part:
· “The Catholic Church teaches that those who experience same-sex attraction are always to be treated with dignity and respect.”
· “The Church also teaches that sexual acts belong within marriage, and that everyone is called to chastity.”
Also, I concur with a statement by Bishop Robert Guglielmone, Liaison to The National Catholic Committee on Scouting: “Young people need encouragement and guidance that will help them live a chaste life. Those who experience same-sex attraction should never be ostracized; they need proper support and care. General public self-disclosures about homosexual tendencies should not be encouraged.”
In the Diocese of Lafayette, 42 scouting units are sponsored by Catholic parishes or organizations. The new standard adopted by the Boy Scout of America does not provide an obstacle to continued sponsoring of Scouting, as long as Catholic principles of morality are consistently applied.
It is my hope that we in the Diocese of Lafayette will continue to partner with the Boys Scouts of America in the healthy formation of young men.