Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pope Benedict Recognizes 100th Anniversary of Scouting

On July 5, 2007, Pope Benedict recognized the 100th anniversary of Scouting:
"For one century, through play, action, adventure, contact with nature, life as a team and in service to others, you offer an integral formation to anyone who joins the Scouts," said the Holy Father in his letter written in French.

He continued: "Inspired by the Gospels, scouting is not only a place for authentic human growth, but also a place of strong Christian values and true moral and spiritual growth, as with any authentic way of holiness.

"The sense of responsibility that permeates Scout education leads to a life of charity and the desire to serve one's neighbor, in the image of Christ the servant, based on the grace offered by Christ, in a special way through the sacraments of the Eucharist and forgiveness."

The Pontiff encouraged the brotherhood of the Scouts, "which is a part of its original ideal and makes up, above all for young generations -- a witness of that which is the body of Christ, within which, according to the image of St. Paul, all are called to fulfill a mission wherever they are, to rejoice in another's progress and to support their brothers in times of difficulty."

The full text of the papal letter on Scouting can be found here.

Scouting is a worldwide youth movement founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Lieutenant General in the British Army. (Here is an interview with Lord Powell on the origins of Scouting Listener magazine, 1937).

According to the Boy Scouts of America on Scouting for Catholic Youth:

[the Catholic Church] is one of the most extensive users of the BSA program. There are more than 330,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers in more than 9,600 packs, troops, and crews under Catholic auspices, and an equal number of youth members in other Scouting units. Scouting is used in about one-third of the parishes in the United States.

Some of the best memories from my teenage years are from my time in scouting. My brothers and I were part of Troop 234, Hickory, NC.

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