Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Catholic Church vs. The Boy Scouts



Well, this is disturbing. On many levels.
A Roman Catholic Church in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake has severed ties with its Boy Scout troop because the national organization, Boy Scouts of America, lifted its ban on gay members (while maintaining its ban on gay scout leaders). Ben Bradley of Chicago’s ABC television affiliate, ABC7, reports:
A northwest suburban Boy Scout troop is looking for a new place to meet after a church cut ties because of the organization’s new gay policy.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church has been this troop’s home since it was formed five years ago. Two days ago, the scouts received this letter in which the pastor writes: “As a former Boy Scout, I know how uncomfortable it would have been to have to be in close proximity with boys that would perhaps be looking at me as more than just a friend.”
The Boy Scouts of America changed its policy last month to allowing openly-gay scouts, but not scout leaders.
[Monday] a Boy Scouts spokesman [told] ABC7: “We are unaware of any [church] that believes a youth member simply stating he or she is attracted to the same sex, but not engaging in sexual activity, should make him or her unwelcome in their congregation.”
“The teachings of the Catholic Church are quite clear regarding the open practice of homosexuality,” [St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s pastor, Rev. Brian] Grady wrote in the letter dated June 1. “With this change in policy by the BSA, this is clearly a condoning of the practice of a particular way of life which is detrimental to the spiritual well being of the individual.”
“For a young boy to (be) placed in a situation where he has to share a tent or be exposed to other boys that are openly homosexual is not only unjust, but immoral. …”
As someone who was raised Catholic, whose ancestors, like, I suspect, Rev. Grady’s, fled the Old Sod across the Western Ocean a couple of generations ago, and who has priests and nuns in the family, I would like to cordially invite the right Reverend to kiss my royal Irish arse.
Seriously, I don’t know how to wrap my brain around everything that’s wrong with this situation. First of all, not that I endorse this view, but Grady’s technically right when he says the Catholic Church is opposed to the “open practice of homosexuality.” But that, of course, is not about being gay but having gay sex. So that leads to the obvious question … What the hell does Rev. Grady think the Boy Scouts do??
Now, I wasn’t a Boy Scout as a lad, but I knew an awful lot of them. And I’m pretty sure they would’ve told me if they were having orgies.
But to Grady – not to the Catholic Church, mind you; not officially, anyway – but to Grady, apparently, being gay equals gay sex; the two are indistinguishable, and therefore equally “wrong.” Which is far stricter than the Church’s position, and, of course, reduces gay people to a ridiculous caricature, defined solely by sex acts. It’s bad enough to treat adult gay people that way; but to imply that young people who happen to be gay are one-dimensional sex machines is absurd, offensive, and, frankly, gross.
As ignorant is that is, though, it’s not the worst aspect of Grady’s position. The worst aspect, of course is this: How does a guy employed the Catholic Church, an institution that’s notorious for priests who’ve sexually abused minors, including (but not limited to) boys, and even more notorious for covering up the sexual abuse of minors, and for shuffling abusive priests around from parish to parish, THEREBY EXPOSING EVEN GREATER NUMBERS OF MINORS TO ABUSIVE PRIESTS … how the hell does a guy affiliated with that organization have the brass ones to say that the Boy Scouts, merely by refusing to discriminate against gay members, expose children to danger.
And as much as I’d like to think what happened to this particular Boy Scout troop is an isolated incident, I’m afraid I have to agree with Scoutmaster Charlie Payseur when he says: “Watch out! I’m the first and I doubt I’m going to be the last” to be treated this way by the Catholic Church. Moreover:
“We talked to our boys and decided we will find another charter, but we’re not going to charter with a church,” Charlie Payseur said. “I’ve already received three offers from area churches, but we’re not going to do that again.”
Who can blame him when the Catholic Church, of all institutions, suggests that his organization, the Boy Scouts, is putting young men at risk. There’s not enough I-can’t-even in the whole damn world to address that steaming pile of shite.
As My Sainted Irish Mother™ might have said.

2 comments:

  1. It'a policies like those in place at the church in your post that first made me question my faith--and they were apparent to me when I was ten years old.

    When we went on campouts we had to attend Sunday mass and most meals began with grace. I thought it was bullshit when I still had some sort of belief in a divine being.

    Anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-black (for realz, in my home parish) and very much anti-dissent--the church of my youth. I haven't become less decent, they have.

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  2. I concur. The Catholic Church as well as many other denominations need to step back and re-evaluate their own actions and take responsibility for their own sins before condemning the sins of others.

    I was a Boy Scout and while it is not a perfect organization, it has and does a great deal of good. Allowing all boys to belong regardless of race, creed, color or sexual orientation was the right thing to do.

    And for those who feel that this violates the "morally straight" part, so? Like any group of humans, there are good and bad, but the purpose is not to create a group of perfect people, but to create a group the provides a sense of community, a place of learning and a good example.

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