ST. LOUIS – Archbishop Robert Carlson has issued a letter calling on Missouri parishes to sever ties to the Girl Scouts, arguing that the program and related organizations conflict with Catholic teaching.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis isn’t directly kicking Girl Scout troops and activities off all church properties, but it is suggesting they and their cookies may no longer 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 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,” Carlson wrote.
He takes aim at Girl Scouts and affiliated organizations, including Girl Scouts USA and the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
“GSUSA resources and social media highlight and promote role models in conflict with Catholic values, such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan,” Carlson wrote.
“Organizations that GSUSA promotes and partners with are conflict with Catholic values, such as Amnesty International, Coalition for Adolescent Girls, Oxfam and more,” he said. “This is especially troubling in regards to sex education and advocacy for ‘reproductive rights’ [i.e. abortion and contraceptive access, even for minors].”
On an archdiocesan website, a question-and-answer page explains how Girl Scouts conflict with Catholic teaching. Among questions: “Can I still buy Girl Scout cookies?”
“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.”
The response explains that proceeds from cookie sales support the GSUSA.
Carlson said he is immediately disbanding the Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and instead “forming a Catholic Committee for Girls Formation that will be charged with ministry to all girls.”