Whatever you my have heard about Knights of Columbus no longer sponsoring Scout units, you need to read this…

For your information the Knights of Columbus organization has long been a supporter of Catholic Scouting. According to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, the Knights of Columbus hold charters for over 1100 units and serve nearly 34,000 youth across the country.

In November 2015, Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, addressed their state deputies. In his address he refereed to the Catholic Church’s Building the Domestic Church While Strengthening Our Parish initiative and how it affects their relationship with Scouting:

Anderson_206Full
Carl A. Anderson, Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight

“The family as domestic church is central to both the work of the new evangelization and to the future sustainability of our parishes… Pope Francis called for a new alliance between the Church and the family in order that Catholic families might receive greater encouragement and support… This new alliance will become a reality only if [families] can find this greater support within their local parish…[Therefore Knights of Columbus]Councils should begin to phase out the duplication of programs that may compete with parish activities. Instead, we will use our resources of time, talent, and money to strengthen parish-based and parish-sponsored programs… One important area where this will occur is youth-based ministry…

“The Board of Directors has thus decided that as part of this new initiative, local units of the Knights of Columbus will no longer sponsor Boy Scout troops. Councils should move to end sponsorship as soon as practically possible — in many cases by the end of 2015 and in no case later than 2016.

“Instead, local units should encourage troops that they presently sponsor to become parish-sponsored troops. Such new parish-sponsored Boy Scout troops can and should receive the volunteer and financial support of local councils. But the key change is that the mission and activity of Scouting will be more properly integrated into a comprehensive strategy of the parish’s youth ministry under the direction of the pastor. After considerable deliberation, we believe that this is the best way to provide for the future sustainability of an authentic Catholic Scouting program and of the Catholic identity of the young men who participate in it”

From the  January 2016 issue of Knightline FAQ Section

What will be the Knights of Columbus’ relationship with the Boy Scouts of America and other international Scouting programs?

Consistent with the goal of the Domestic Church initiative, troops must be chartered by the local parish rather than by a council. Knights are strongly encouraged to aid the parish-chartered organization through continued volunteer service, leadership and financial support.

If a council sponsors a Boy Scout troop, what steps does it need to take?

As a preliminary matter, grand knights should meet with their pastors to discern whether Catholic Scouting could fit into the parish’s youth ministry. If so, the grand knight will need to coordinate with troop leadership and the local Scouting Council to designate the parish as the chartered organization for the troop. Once this change has been made, the council should continue to provide volunteer leadership and financial support for the troop.

Read:  Supreme Knight Carl Anderson Letter to NCCS
BSA Announcement
NCCS Response Letter

Suggestions for developing a Catholic strategy:

  • Don’t go it alone—Catholic diocese territory may include territory of several BSA
    councils. Scout executives should work together in developing a strategy to serve the needs of the Catholic Scouting program.
  • Use the state organization of the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic diocese
    organization. Get their advice and guidance and help.
  • Know and use your resources—there are many dedicated Scouters and former Scouters in influential positions in the Knights of Columbus. Use their knowledge and ability to work with clergy, and to develop a personal dialogue with Catholic bishops.
  • Understand the youth activities and needs of the Catholic church.
  • Develop multi-Knights of Columbus Councils service

Special thanks to John Anthony from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting who supplied the above information.

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John Anthony
John is a retired professional Scouter with 37 years of service, in 2014 volunteered his service as a member of the NCCS Membership Committee, which he now chairs. During his professional service with BSA he served as a Scout Executive in South Florida and New York and directed Learning for Life for 13 years. John has a Bachelors degree in History and a Masters in Human Services. He is an Eagle Scout, a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, and is Wood Badge trained. He has earned the Ad Altare Dei himself and received the St. George Award from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1987. He was recognized with the La Flor de Lis Cubana in 2012 and the Jewish Shofar Award in 2013. He is also a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus.

20 comments

  1. Phil Westover says:

    The ‘elephant in the room’ is that the Knights can’t force a parish to take on a Scout unit. It’s been my experience since becoming an adult Scouting volunteer in 1968 that more parish pastors than not have not easily embraced Scouting, or have flat-out not wanted Scouting as part do their parish youth program. My last troop was requested to pay for the use of a parish room because we weren’t a “parish group, and neither were the Knights….” My only question is, “What happens when the Knights need to wrap things up by the “end of ’15 and no later than the end of ’16” and they have no place to go because the parish won’t take them?

    1. Darryl Alder
      Darryl Alder ( User Karma: 9 ) says:

      Phil we had the same thing happen here. The Provo Catholic unit went away when they build a new church in Orem. Both Provo and Orem have large Catholic spanish speaking populations that we cannot serve without a sponsor.

    2. steve Meier says:

      It appears the KOC leadership (like other organizations) wants out of Scouting due to the potential liability issues they see down the road and related poor media coverage. However, the BSA has not done themselves any favors with their solution to the “Gay” Scouting issue I anticipate even greater problems down the road with additional legal challenges and pressure at the next BSA convention. BSA has already lost a lot of good leaders and kids as a result of this issue and will lose more.
      If potential scout parents and leaders want to align themselves with a troop, they need to market themselves correctly. For example, leader interviews and background checks including social media checks are a must. Priests (who lead the parish) also need to understand that they have ultimate control over leadership selection. If Parishes do not want a troop or pack, that is their decision. Their loss of an opportunity to help kids and provide good mentorship is unfortunate but could be anticipated in the current social and political environment. Hopefully, the future will be brighter. In the meantime, there are many other organizations like the Elks that will be happy to sponsor a troop. All they need to do is ask.

      1. Chuck says:

        There is no basis in fact for your statement regarding the KofC’s supposed desire to sidestep “…potential liability issues….” and “…poor media coverage…”. At best this is hearsay rumormongering and at worst slanderous.
        Please provide facts, references and citations for your statements on what gave you the insights into the ulterior motive of the KofC.

  2. Andrew says:

    This seems easy on the surface; however, I served as a District Scout Executive and Queen of Peace Parish in Mesa, AZ outright had a unanimous vote to KEEP OUT CUB SCOUTS. I am sure I can find the letter that was issued. I almost sent it to the local media. Later, a few months later, the Parish made local news that pedophile charges were brought up against at least one of the main people who voted against Cub Scouts and against youth protection programs. I was outraged. Even Father Dennis, our local liaison with the Catholic church could not get them to support a Cub Scout pack. It is an absolute sad day when the Knights of Columbus has taken their position. Mark up a countless 1,000+ tallies for Satan as the Scouting organization has been weakened again.

  3. John says:

    The new Scouts BSA has become and apostate organization. This new Scouts BSA has abandoned Christ and the Gospel message. We need both as the church and the Knights of Columbus to completely disassociate our selves from this now secular, non religious group as quickly as we can.

  4. Tom says:

    One year later…as Chartered Org. Rep in Scouting, I and our Cub Scout Pack are blessed to have not lost our Knights of Columbus involvement with Scouting. Our pastor, after our meeting with him multiple times to educate him on Boy Scouting, had taken on the role of Chartered Organization at the parish level. The Knights have seamlessly passed on the baton to the parish and we, as committed Knights are continuing out mission with youth…but now under our pastor’s assistance and support. My guess is that this is the way it should work, however, the risk of losing our Cub Pack was very real and everyone had fears and anxiety going into the change.

  5. Candace says:

    Our troop had this happen as well. Their KoC charter ended at the end of 2015. The adults involved with the troop ended up forming a citizen group to sponsor the troop as they could not find a Catholic Church to sponsor them. Very sad as the troop had been sponsored for 20+ years.

  6. Greg Bramlet says:

    My original post was scuttled. Evidently the new image makeover is as flawed as both youth programs individually. Being a founding Grand Knight (14067), SAFE SCOUTING is still compromised.

  7. Greg Bramlet says:

    Being a BSA Scouter of some 22 years as well as a founding Grand Knight (14067), this is merely an image makeover to cover the many abuses and ethical conflicts of interest. The obvious dichotomy is the disparity between both separate youth programs as I witnessed in St. Louis. The Catholic religious awards program deteriorated because of the ineffectual attitudes of certain clergy whose minimal efforts caused hardship upon the laity. The clergy who promote an attitude of “do as I say, not as I do” actually put scouting youth at risk.
    It might work IF AND ONLY IF the catholic clergy ethically honor the sacrifices of scouting volunteers. An actual program that remedies its former intrinsic flaws has yet to prove itself in light of YOUTH PROTECTION. I have encountered plenty of scoutmasters who have had their own secret agendas to ignore national program. How many “Lord of the Flies” moments will there be with this new image makeover? What happens when the policy makers of the Knights of Columbus and Catholic BSA do not really listen because they actually create barriers to “Safe Scouting”?

  8. Peregrinator says:

    “The Federation of North American Explorers lack approval and the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

    That is true; however, the Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) is a member association of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe – Federation of European Scouting (UIGSE-FSE), which is approved by the Holy See as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right (under the Pontifical Council for the Laity). So FNE’s standing within the Church is good. Hope this helps.

  9. Yaya says:

    No Catholic organization can in good conscience have anything to do with the BSA. Thinking that a boy (or adult leader) desiring to sodomize another male is “OK” is not congruent with Catholic values. Fortunately thier is already a Catholic alternative to the BSA: The Federation of North American Explorers

    1. John Anthony
      John Anthony ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      The Boy Scouts of America has a long tradition with the Catholic Church. As the charter partner the parishes selects it’s leadership for their Scouting units. Through their emblems program the youth become closer to the religious teachings of the Catholic Church. Trail for Life, Troops of St George, and The Federation of North American Explorers lack approval and the support of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

      1. Peregrinator says:

        Just FYI, the Federation of North-American Explorers (FNE) is a member association of the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe – Federation of European Scouting (UIGSE-FSE), which is approved by the Holy See as an international association of the faithful of Pontifical right (under the Pontifical Council for the Laity). So while you may be technically correct about FNE’s standing with the USCCB, FNE’s standing in the Church itself is good. Hope this helps.

          1. Peregrinator says:

            As I noted, what you stated is technically accurate, as far as it goes. FNE does not have the approval and support of the USCCB. However, as a member association of UIGSE-FSE, it has the approval and support of the Holy See. And that means that its standing within the Church must be distinguished from that of Trail Life or the Troops of St. George.

  10. Michael Vitucci says:

    This is a horrible decision. What if the Parish already has a Troop or Pack. After the KoC yanks the charter, where will they go?

  11. Daniel says:

    This is a wrong headed decision and you know it. Throwing a venerable institution like Scouting under the bus is shameful. What’s the real reason?

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