As the dust-up between Donald Trump and the pope begins to fade, a new front in the definitions of Christianity and the Church has opened up with a St. Louis archbishop’s letter to his clergy to consider evicting the Girl Scouts from parishes that sponsor them.
“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,” Archbishop Robert J. Carlson wrote in a letter dated Thursday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports. “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?”
Specifically, he objects to the Girl Scouts’ parent organization as well as its support for groups like Oxfam and Amnesty International, which he says supports contraception and abortion rights. He also objects to increasing acceptance of gay and transgender individuals in scouting.
“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,” he said.
Some parents of Girl Scouts and Brownies-to-be are pushing back, according to the newspaper.
The news set off spirited Facebook discussions among parents whose children attend Catholic schools with Girl Scouts troops.
“I think they are too focused on other people the Girl Scouts may have some associations with rather than what our local girl scout chapters are actually doing,” said Julie Mudd of St. Louis.
Mudd said the troop within her daughter’s Catholic school, St. Margaret of Scotland, has multiple honors from its affiliated church for good works.
Mudd said she hopes to enroll her daughter, 4, in the school’s existing Daisy troop when she enters kindergarten. She and her husband are parishioners at St. Pius V.
“I was a Girl Scout, my mom was a den leader for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and I’m planning to become active when my little girl enters scouting. It was a great experience. It was really empowering,” Mudd said.
The Church was ready for the big question, however. Can you be a Catholic and still buy Girl Scout cookies?
Each person must act in accord with their conscience. It is also our duty to form our consciences and learn the issues. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:
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. (See: Does any of the money from cookie sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA?) On average, only 10-20% of the total cookie revenue remains with the troop selling the cookies. (See: How can I be sure that Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue supports the local Girl Scouts in my community?)
We echoe the statement of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missourui, that it is important not to debate these issues with individual girls who are selling cookies. These conversations must “remain among adults”.