Catholic Diocese in North Dakota Severs All Ties With Boy Scouts Over Gay Adult Troop Leaders

Michael W. Chapman | August 5, 2015 | 12:44pm EDT
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Bishop David Kagan, head of the Catholic Diocese of Bismark, N.D. (AP)

( – The Catholic Diocese of Bismark, North Dakota, is “formally” severing its churches, schools, and other institutions from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) because of the latter’s decision to allow openly homosexual adults and employees to work in the Boy Scouts.

The BSA’s executive committee voted to lift its century-old national restriction on “openly gay adult leaders and employees” on July 27.  The Catholic Diocese of Bismark, headed by Bishop David Kagan moved swiftly to disassociate itself from the now pro-gay BSA.

“[E]ffective immediately, the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Bismarck and each and every one of its parishes, schools and other institutions, is formally disaffiliated with and from the Boy Scouts of America,” said Bishop Kagan in an August 3 letter.

“If your parish sponsors a troop, your priest has been asked to inform those persons associated with the BSA of this action and to inform the BSA itself of this decision,” he said.

A Boy Scout marches with the homosexual rainbow flag.  (AP) 

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual persons are “called to chastity” and that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” because they violate the natural law, the teaching from Scripture, and they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” The Church, in its Catechism, further states that “under no circumstances” can homosexual acts “be approved.” 

“I regret my decision but, in conscience as the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Bismarck, I cannot permit our Catholic institutions to accept and participate directly or indirectly in any organization, which has policies and methods, which contradict the authoritative moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Kagan.

In his Aug. 3 letter, Bishop Kagan listed several “acceptable alternatives” to the Boy Scouts and to the Girl Scouts. These include American Heritage Girls; the Little Flowers’ Girls Clubs; the Federation of North American Explorers; the Columbian Squires; and Trail Life USA.

The Diocese of Bismark was established in 1909 and serves about 66,400 Catholics in 23 counties in western North Dakota. Bishop Kagan was selected to head the  Bismark Diocese by then-Pope Benedict XVI in October 2011.

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