Kansas City Archdiocese Ending Ties Girl Scouts

Statement Regarding Kansas City Archdiocesan Transition from Girl Scouts to American Heritage Girls

By Archbishop Joseph F Naumann:

Courageous Priest Note:  This was a 10 year on-going dialogue with the Girls Scouts.  To get greater detail click here:

After several consultations with the Presbyteral Council and with the recommendation of our Office for Youth Ministry, I have asked the pastors of the Archdiocese to begin the process of transitioning away from the hosting of parish Girl Scout troops and toward the chartering of American Heritage Girls troops.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Pastors were given the choice of making this transition quickly, or to, over the next several years, “graduate” the Scouts currently in the program. Regardless of whether they chose the immediate or phased transition, parishes should be in the process of forming American Heritage Girl troops, at least for their kindergarteners, this fall.

The decision to end our relationship with Girl Scouting was not an easy one. Over a period of many years, our Archdiocesan Youth Ministry staff spent hundreds of hours researching concerns regarding the policies of both the International and the National Girl Scouting organizations. In addition, they have spent hundreds of hours in dialogue with Scouts, parents, pastors, and national Girl Scouting representatives regarding our concerns with disturbing content in materials and resources developed and promulgated by the national organization. I personally have been in conversation with national and local Girl Scout leaders regarding my concerns about the new direction of national Girl Scouting reflected in the content of their program materials.

Eventually it came down to this. Our greatest responsibility as a church is to the children and young people in our care. We have a limited time and number of opportunities to impact the formation of our young people. It is essential that all youth programs at our parishes affirm virtues and values consistent with our Catholic faith.

To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural. With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA (GSUSA) of programs and materials reflective of many of the troubling trends in our secular culture, they are no longer a compatible partner in helping us form young women with the virtues and values of the Gospel.

The national organization, for example, contributes more than a million dollars each year to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS), an organization tied to International Planned Parenthood and its advocacy for legislation that includes both contraception and abortion as preventive health care for women.

Margaret Sanger, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are frequently held up in materials as role models for young Scouts. These as well as many other “role models” in the GSUSA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe. 1

While I am grateful that offensive and completely age-inappropriate material was recently removed by GSUSA from portions of their Journey series of manuals in response to concerns raised by the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and others, it is disturbing such an intervention on our part was necessary. We prefer to partner with youth organizations that share our values and vision for youth ministry, not ones that we have to monitor constantly to protect our children from being misled and misinformed.

American Heritage Girls, a program based on Christian values, we believe is a much better fit for our parishes. I encourage you to read more about the American Heritage Girl program by going to its website, www.americanheritagegirls.org. For more information about the history of and issues surrounding our Girl Scouting decision, go to www.archkck.org/scouting-home.

On a final note, I want to express my appreciation for the many extraordinary Girl Scout leaders of the archdiocese who have served so many so well. We look forward to having as many of them as are willing join us in leadership roles as we take this new step into the formation of our girls. I will always be grateful for their exceptional service.

Archbishop Naumann Addresses Senator Kaine’s Anti-Catholic Rhetoric

“It is Painful to Listen to Senator Kaine”

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, The Leaven:

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann

Though he has local roots in the Kansas City area, I have never met vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine. From those who do know him, I understand that he is a very affable and likable person.

In the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Senator Kaine acknowledged he was blessed with great Irish Catholic parents and grew up in a wonderful faith-filled family. He also mentioned proudly that he is a graduate of Rockhurst High School, crediting the Jesuits with instilling within him a desire for public service and a commitment to advocate for the poor. I wish that was the end of the story.

It was painful to listen to Senator Kaine repeat the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal. He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?

With regard to the imposition of religious beliefs, Senator Kaine appears to have no qualms with his public positions conforming with his religious beliefs with regard to such issues as the church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor. He appears not to be conflicted with our public policies mirroring the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.

The founders of our nation actually dealt with this issue 240 years ago in the Declaration of Independence, in which they articulate certain self-evident and inalienable rights that government does not bestow but has a responsibility to protect. Our founders actually believed that the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.

Of course, religion will speak about fundamental human rights issues. However, to understand that the government has a right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason. They do not require faith.

Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life? I hope in his science classes at Rockhurst he learned that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father.

It is difficult to imagine that Senator Kaine has not seen the ultrasound images of his children and grandchildren when they were in their mother’s womb. Is the senator unaware that abortion stopped the beating hearts of 60 million American children aborted legally since 1973?

If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin.

As far as Senator Kaine’s fear that if abortion is made illegal, our prisons will be teeming with post-abortive women, we actually have decades of legal history in our own country when this was certainly not the case.

Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.

Actually, I wish Senator Kaine would take the time to talk with some of the post–abortive women that are assisted by Project Rachel and other post-abortion ministries helping women and men find healing, hope and mercy after an abortion. Our current permissive abortion policies, placing the entire burden of responsibility for the abortion decision upon the mother, results in millions of women experiencing an inner imprisonment where the bars keeping them from freedom and happiness are the guilt and unresolved grief that inevitably ensues from abortion.

It is interesting that Senator Kaine expressed his personal anguish when as governor he enforced capital punishment sentences. He gave the impression that he attempted unsuccessfully to convince Virginians to abolish the death penalty. Yet, with regard to legalized abortion, I am not aware of Senator Kaine making a similar effort to convince his constituents to work for public policies that protect the lives of the unborn. Instead, he appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights.

It is ironic that Senator Kaine expressed such profound concern about imposing his religious beliefs on others, while supporting efforts: 1) to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans; 2) to put small business owners (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and 3) to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion.

This presidential election presents all Americans with a difficult choice. Both major political parties have nominated very flawed candidates. In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president. We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.

Finally, be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe. Unfortunately, the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fulling embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.

Archbishop Naumann: “Invented ‘Rights’ That Are a Residue of the So-Called Sexual Revolution”

  It’s “A Social Experiment Devastating Marriage
and Family Life in Our Country”

by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, The Leaven Catholic:

The sanctity of human life, marriage and family life, religious freedom and the U.S. Constitution lost a great defender and friend with the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The appointment of his successor could move our nation’s highest court even further along its recent path of arrogating to itself the right to determine our nation’s public policy on issues of such significant consequence as the legalization of abortion and, more recently, the redefinition of marriage.

In recent years, the court has usurped the right of the people by referendum or through their elected representatives to determine national as well as state policies on such fundamental social issues. The court has shown an alarming propensity to attempt to close off debate and shut down the democratic process to impose what it considers its own enlightened opinion on such neuralgic social policy issues.

On Feb. 17, the Kansas Catholic Conference, along with other faith-based organizations sponsored a religious freedom rally at our state Capitol in Topeka. The event exceeded my highest expectations drawing between 1,500 to 2,000 people, who filled the rotunda of the Capitol as well as the balconies above.

The rally featured an incredible lineup of speakers that included Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, who is one of the most insightful advocates for religious liberty and conscience rights. I highly recommend his  most recent book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom,” (click on link to get lowest price on Amazon) if you want to understand the implications of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and its impact upon religious liberty and conscience rights.

Rally participants also heard from Pastor Hernan Castano from Houston, Texas, who with several other pastors had his Sunday sermons subpoenaed, in an effort to intimidate him into silence regarding the effort to enact a local ordinance making homosexuals legally a protected class. While on the surface this seems harmless, the effect of such a law would mean that the so-called “rights” of those with this legal status supersede the religious freedom and conscience rights of others.

Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (a co-plaintiff with the Little Sisters of the Poor in a case soon to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court), spoke eloquently about the devastating impact of Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandates requiring religious institutions and ministries to include in their employee health care programs so-called “preventive health services” that violate their own deeply held religious and moral convictions.

……………..Getting the Government We Deserve

Similarly, Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life in Washington, D.C., shared their efforts to resist the HHS mandates requiring her organization, whose whole purpose for existence is opposition of abortion, to provide abortifacients to their employees.

The most poignant speech was given by Barronelle Stutzman, who is the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in the state of Washington. Barronelle is fighting lawsuits initiated by the state of Washington and the ACLU seeking not only to close her business, but to impose damages that would take her home, her life savings and her retirement plan. Why? Because she declined to do floral arrangements for a same-sex wedding ceremony!

Barronelle employs homosexuals and has provided for decades floral arrangements for many individuals with same-sex attraction. She considered the man, who requested the arrangement for his same-sex wedding, not only a valued customer but a friend. She recommended three other florists whom she was confident would gladly provide floral arrangements for the occasion. She declined simply because it was against her deeply held religious convictions to participate in a same-sex wedding ceremony.

Baronelle’s case illustrates that the civil recognition of same-sex marriage promoted on the basis of tolerance is being used to create an intolerant and hostile environment for the free expression of religion. Some advocates for same-sex marriage have made it clear that one of their goals is to coerce churches and other religious groups to change their moral teaching regarding homosexual actions. If they succeed, orthodox Catholic moral teaching, as well as biblical teaching regarding homosexual activity, will soon be considered a “hate crime.” If this happens, the consequences for our parishes and schools will be catastrophic.

During this election year, thoughtful citizens need to evaluate and seriously consider what kind of person presidential candidates will nominate to the Supreme Court. Since our country’s highest court in recent decades has taken on the role of imposing public policy upon the nation, we have to be much more conscious of those responsible for nominating and confirming candidates for the court.

This has also become a problem with our state courts as well. This past year, a Kansas judge claimed to discover a right to abortion in the Kansas Constitution. This particular case will soon come before the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Founders fought and died to bring to birth a nation where religious liberty and conscience rights would be protected and respected. Throughout our nation’s history, many others fought and died defending these most fundamental God-given rights. Are we willing to sacrifice and subjugate these fundamental liberties to recently invented “rights” that are a residue of the so-called sexual revolution of the late 20th century — a social experiment that devastated marriage and family life in our country?

Our nation faces many daunting challenges at this moment of our history. We can address and remedy all of them if we have strong families that form children to become virtuous citizens. Our Founders appreciated the importance of religion in fostering healthy families and cultivating virtuous citizens. In a representative democratic republic, we get the government that we deserve.

The choice is ours.