Q. 1. Does the Catholic Church encourage parents to allow their children to become involved in public youth groups such as Boys Scout, Girls Scout, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Partners Program, Uncles at Large, Boys Club or Girls Club? Some of these groups appear to offer a good variety of activities for the children.
A. 1. The Catholic Church itself does not provide instructions regarding how local parishes should encourage or discourage its members who wish to allow their children to become involved in local youth groups. This is understandable considering the fact that the type of youth groups varies from country to country.
At the Diocesan level, some Bishops have issued guidelines or warnings regarding participation in local youth groups. As such, it is recommended that parents contact their Diocesan office to find out if such a guideline exists for their area.
Having said that, parents should be aware that when they involve their children in an outside group, the following may take place:
- The group may not be Catholic, therefore exposing the child to non-Catholic beliefs.
- The leaders of the group may not be Catholic, therefore exposing the child to personal views that contradict the Catholic faith.
- Nowadays, many groups have active homosexuals/lesbians as leaders, promote homosexuality, same sex marriage, common-law relationships, contraception, abortion, etc... These are evils that will destroy the soul of the child! Is this what you want for your child?
One hundred years ago, these youth groups did not exist and there was no need for them. A practicing parent is always the best christian role model for a child. If the parent feels that there is a necessity for additional adult role model in a child's life, consideration should be given to practicing relatives or a member of the parish who is known to the child. It is better to be safe than to be sorry!