The U.S. Bishops should simply say no, no more affiliation of Catholic parishes with the Boy Scouts of America. They should say this now before their fear of lawsuits forces them to do it later, for instance when BSA, under legal pressure, chooses to drop another “principle” and admits self-professed homosexual Scout leaders and professed atheist youths and scout masters. This is inevitable legally because the BSA will no longer be able hide behind their “principles” to justify this form of discrimination now that they have abandoned another of their basic principles.
But there is another more important reason why the Bishops should opt out now and institute their own Scouting organization, and this has to do with their duty to protect the morals of their youth, whether heterosexual or homosexual in orientation.
Scouting can be a great experience for boys, as boys, or girls as girls, but not together. If you mix adolescent boys and girls in this kind activity, you immediately introduce the element of sex into the mix of scouting, sexual attraction and inevitably sexual activity for at least some of these kids. Adolescents are simply not ready to handle this, not psychologically ready and most often not morally. Indeed, the introduction of women into close living arrangements in the military has produced the problems of sex in military day to day living arrangements and work place, including wide spread sexual harassment. Now, if adults often cannot handle this new close working and living environment, how does any common sense person think mixing the sexes in adolescent activities like scouting won’t cause similar problems. Likewise, once you allow openly homosexual youths into scout troops, these troops will be sexualized even if no gays venture to join. For every new scout will be an occasion for wondering whether he’s gay, and thus a certain fixation with the abnormal will intrude upon healthy interests.
Moreover, introducing openly homosexual youths into scouting troops will inevitably present a very real moral challenge for these very scouts? After all, homosexuality is described today as same sex attraction, which suggests that adolescent homosexual boys will be attracted sexually to other boys, and when this openly homosexual youngster is so attracted, it will be much the same situation as a heterosexual boy being introduced into a girl scouts troop, or a girl being introduced into a boy scout troop. Boys will be sexually attracted to that girl, and the homosexual boy will be sexually attracted to the other boys. To think that the homosexual youngster’s sexual proclivity will be left at the door all the time would be dangerously naive. Sex does not easily get into the equation where you have a group of heterosexual boys, because they are not sexually attracted to the other boys. And even where you have a closet homosexual boy, or more likely a boy who is uncertain about his sexuality, the fact of keeping this proclivity hidden from the other boys is itself a psychological check that works to keep sex out of the environment.
But where you have a youngster who is openly, even proudly homosexual, that counterbalance is gone, and for this boy the scouting environment becomes a real challenge morally, even for the homosexual boy who wants to be chaste. However, the fact that a boy desires publicly to declare his homosexuality is not a good indicator that the boy has any real interest in curbing his own sexual proclivity, especially at an age where this is a very difficult challenge for any boy.
This is where the truth that the CDF spoke years ago now, a truth which was highly objected to by the gay community, is all important. Homosexual attraction is a positive disorder. Part of this disorder often involves an obsession with sex. A psychiatric professor spoke of this obsession in a class I took back in the 1980’s in Rome at the John Paul II Institute. In fact, his experience and research on this disorder convinced him that sex became such an obsession with many homosexuals that he wondered if such a person was fully responsible, since the obsession, in his opinion, often overpowered the will. He had concluded that homosexuality was a disorder not simply because it was same sex attraction, but also because the disorder tended to become obsessive preoccupation with sexual pleasure among homosexual males especially. That alone explained to him why homosexual males often become great risk takers to frequently engage in sex with multiple partners, even where a life threatening disease like AIDS is present.
Boys, especially, in their adolescence can become sexually obsessed, both homosexual and heterosexual boys. As psychologists and psychiatrists point out, their sexual hormones are often “raging.” Confessors will add from their confessional experience that only chastity and grace can ultimately help them gain self-control. But where there is a movement to declare openly that one is gay, chastity is not likely.
At the same time, many Catholic psychiatrists argue, and many confessors and theologians agree, that in adolescence, sexual ambiguity or confusion can manifest itself. And where a young boy is seduced by another boy, this can often result not from a homosexual tendency but from a psychological confusion where strong feelings of friendship get cross-circuited into sexual arousal. Such an experience can be both morally and psychologically damaging to some perfectly heterosexual boys who get seduced by an engaging homosexual peer looking for a lover.
The Bishops need to protect all these vulnerable boys, heterosexual and homosexual. Scout troops are not necessary occasions of sin, like schools. The Bishops should move to keep them as free of the sexual dimension as possible. They should just say no to sponsoring any such mixed troops, and mixed-up kids.
It also has to be a problem for family life when one of the spouses is not only working in close quarters with a member of the opposite sex but even sharing the same living quarters as is the case in the modern navy, including even submarines. Put yourself in the place of a spouse whose husband or wife is hunkering down with the opposite sex in a sub or carrier, or a camp for that matter. No problem there I guess, unless you are the other spouse.
One might hope that adult military personnel might not allow the sexual thing to affect them, but then that is a rather naïve assumption given the fact that the military readily supplies contraceptives to soldiers in combat zones since most of their soldiers will require them.