Statement from Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde on the Boy Scouts of America 2013-05-24

(Arlington, Va.) - The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, Bishop of Arlington, made the following statement today in response to the Boy Scouts of America's vote at its executive meeting in Grapevine, Texas to change its membership requirements:

The clarity and courage of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) over many years in the face of considerable cultural, political and legal pressure to change its membership policy with regard to those who openly profess to live a homosexual lifestyle has been a testament to the virtues that scouting has successfully instilled in the young men who have benefited from its programs. I deeply regret that the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, after years of principled and steadfast resolve, has now wavered in their commitment to the values that the scouting movement has traditionally embraced and taught.

The Diocese of Arlington has been very pleased to host Boy Scout troops in the great majority of its parishes and to encourage our boys and young men to be a part of the scouting tradition. As Bishop, it has always been my firm hope that we might continue sponsorship of Boy Scout troops in a manner that is consistent with the Church's teaching and mission.

Sadly, yesterday's decision forces us to prayerfully reconsider whether a continued partnership with the BSA will be possible.

Going forward and before the new BSA policy takes effect, I will consult with those who moderate the Church's relationship with the scouting movement locally and at the national level, including the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) and members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Through this consultative process we will determine whether our parishes can continue their relationship with the Boy Scouts. Overarching all of this will be our firm commitment to preserving the integrity of the Church's teaching on the authentic meaning of human sexuality.

As an organization founded on character and leadership, it is highly disappointing to see the Boy Scouts of America succumb to external pressures and political causes at the cost of its moral integrity. Additionally, it seems clear that the result of this policy change will likely not bring harmony, but rather continuing controversy, policy fights, and discord.

I ask that parishioners in the Diocese of Arlington continue to pray for the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, and all Boy Scouts, and that each of us may grow in our understanding of the gift of human sexuality and remain a steadfast witness to the truths of our faith.