Well, sure, they just need a man to keep an eye on them...

The USCCB, not content with making sure that the LCWR is firmly under the thumb of male authority, is setting its sights on another insidious female-run organization: the Girl Scouts.David Crary reports.

The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts' "possible problematic relationships with other organizations" and various "problematic" program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.

And they're guilty by association with some pretty unsavory characters:

Critics contend that Girl Scouts materials shouldn't contain links to groups such as Doctors without Borders, the Sierra Club and Oxfam because they support family planning or emergency contraception.

Strictly speaking, of course, the magisterium DOES affirm family planning--Catholics aren't to have more kids than they can feed or educate. Also, the Ethical and Religious Directives explicitly permit emergency contraception, at least for "A female who has been raped" (ERD 36) so long as it seems likely that she hasn't ovulated. So strictly speaking, the bishops don't want Catholic girls to learn about forms of birth control and emergency contraception of which they disapprove. They also object to non-Christian Scouts invoking the Deity by names the bishops don't approve of (Allah, e.g.) Basically, it seems they want to control the Girl Scouts so that NO members, Catholic or otherwise, will be informed about subjects of which the bishops disapprove.Lots of Girl Scouts are Catholic. The organization does a huge amount of good by educating and empowering girls-the Scouts are not just about cookies, and the group SURELY isn't just about the small handful of issues that exercise the bishops. If the Scouts decide that they don't want to knuckle under to the Catholic bishops' demand to approve their activities, parents will have a tough choice. Which group has a better record of looking out for the welfare of kids, after all?

Lisa Fullam is professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).

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