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:
“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.
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.