Kansas City – In a statement released on May 1, 2017, Archbishop Joseph Naumann asked the priests of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas to transition away from supporting Girl Scout Troops.
In his statement, Archbishop Naumann said, “To follow Jesus and his Gospel will often require us to be counter-cultural. With the promotion by Girl Scouts USA 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.”
Archbishop Naumann stated several reasons for the transition away from connections with the Girl Scouts. The national organization donates more than a million dollars annually to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS). WAGGS is closely tied to Planned Parenthood, who advocates for contraceptive birth control and abortion – both which go against Catholic Church teachings.
Additionally, Girl Scout materials present Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem as role models for young women. Both Sanger and Steinem are known for their roles in advocating for abortion and contraception. Archbishop Naumann stated, “These as well as many other “role models” in the Girl Scouts of the USA’s new manuals and web content not only do not reflect our Catholic worldview but stand in stark opposition to what we believe.”
Documents from the Archdiocese show that Archbishop Naumann has been aware of concerns over connections with the Girl Scouts since 2007, when he received letters from former and current Girl Scouts asking for support to remedy situations and positions in the Girl Scouts that contradicted Catholic teaching.
Archbishop Naumann is not the first to question ties with the Girl Scouts. Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis asked the priests of his diocese to distance themselves from the organization in a 2016 letter, saying, “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.”
To create opportunities for young women to still grow in virtue and community, the Kansas City Archdiocese is partnering with American Heritage Girls, whose mission is to build “women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.”
Archbishop Naumann ended the statement thanking the Girl Scout leaders in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas for all of their contributions and services to young girls and the community, saying, “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.”