The following comes from a February 20 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Nancy Cambria:
St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson has issued a letter calling on parishes to seek alternatives to Girl Scouts, arguing that the program and related organizations conflict with Roman Catholic teaching.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis isn’t directly kicking Girl Scout troops and activities off church properties, but is suggesting they and their cookies may no longer be welcome in the fold.
“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,” Carlson wrote in a letter dated Thursday. “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?”
The letter said issues such as reproductive rights and abortion separate the church from Girl Scouts and related organizations.
More than 4,000 Girl Scouts meet in Catholic churches in the region. An unknown number of girls who are Catholic attend troops outside of Catholic churches and schools.
Carlson’s letter does not mandate that parishes disband Girl Scout troops. Rather, it calls on them to seek alternatives.
“I am asking each pastor that allows Girl Scout troops to meet on parish property to conduct a meeting with troop leadership to review these concerns and discuss implementing alternative options for the formation of our girls,” Carlson wrote.
A question-and-answer page on an Archdiocesan website also asks parents to question whether they should condone a child joining the Girl Scouts as it conflicts with Catholic teaching.
“Can I still buy Girl Scout Cookies?” is also among the questions posted on the Archdiocesan website.
“Each person must act in accord with their conscience,” is the response. “It is also our duty to form our consciences and learn the issues.”
“Organizations that [Girl Scouts USA] promotes and partners with are in conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, OxFam and more. This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for ‘reproductive rights’ (i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors),” Carlson wrote.