Sad News: Girls Scouts Becoming Increasingly Incompatible with Catholic View

Archbishop Carlson’s Diocese “Disbanding the
Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts”

Jennifer Brinker | [email protected] | twitter: @jenniferbrinker: St. Louis Review

A new Catholic Committee for Girls Formation is being charged with ministry to all girls in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced the new committee in a Feb. 18 letter to priests, scout leaders and the faithful of the archdiocese. The letter reiterated the ongoing concerns with the values and policies of Girl Scouts USA, which he said are “becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values.”

“While continuing to serve our Catholic girls involved in various scouting programs, this committee will also reflect our ongoing commitment to educating and forming all young women,” he wrote.

Archbishop Carlson appointed Barb Hussey and Katie Cannavan as co-chairs of the new committee. Hussey, a member of St. Gerard Majella Parish in Kirkwood, was chairperson of the recently disbanded Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts. For years, she has promoted nearly a dozen faith-formation award programs offered to youths in the archdiocese. Cannavan is coordinator of American Heritage Girls troop MO1776 at St. Joseph Parish in Cottleville.

“I’m looking forward to a sense of cohesiveness and moving forward for the good of the girls,” said Hussey. The faith-formation programs, which teach youths about the Blessed Mother, the saints, the Holy Spirit and the Rosary, among other topics, are open to all youths, regardless of affiliation with a scouting organization.

“They come together and sit at the table, and they don’t know who has what affiliation,” Hussey said. “They just know that they share the same faith.”

Prior to getting involved in American Heritage Girls, a Christian-based scouting organization, Cannavan didn’t know much about the faith-formation programs available to girls in the archdiocese. Now she’s looking forward to promoting them.

Cannavan said her troop at St. Joseph has refocused its efforts this year to require her girls to complete at least one faith-formation program. “It really is about building a new generation of Catholics, in leadership and in faith. (The programs) are there to serve as a resource and link the Church together.”

In the letter, the archbishop asked parishes to evaluate the effectiveness of Girl Scout troops in promoting the Catholic faith and forming young women of virtue. Specifically, he asked pastors to meet with troop leaders and review the concerns and discuss implementing alternative options for girls’ formation.

Catholic Youth Apostolate executive director Brian Miller explained the apostolate remains committed to its ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of its programs.

“This is all about good youth ministry,” said Miller. “In the same way that we have evaluated Girl Scouts’ effectiveness to form our young Catholic girls as women of virtue, we should be evaluating the effectiveness of all of our programs and whether they are accomplishing the mission: to bring the message of the Gospel to young people.”

More information

• To learn more about the archdiocese’s ongoing concerns with Girl Scouts, visit  (Excellent Source.)

• The Archdiocese of St. Louis supports alternative scouting organizations, including American Heritage Girls(Christian) ( and Little Flower Girls Club (Catholic) (, both of which were founded with the intention of placing the scouting experience within a Christian context. In 2012, American Heritage Girls launched a National Catholic Committee to support growth and spiritual development of its Catholic troops. (Visit

Read Archbishop Carlson’s letter




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