Boy Scout leaders reportedly told both Latter-day Saint and Southern Baptist leaders that it had the support of the Catholic Church regarding its proposed policy change on gay members and leaders despite the fact that Catholic officials were still discussing the issue at the time, sources familiar with the conversations informed The Christian Post. However, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops took that a step farther and told CP that it has offered no such support.
Before the BSA announced publicly on Jan. 28 that it was considering changing its policy on gays, BSA leaders spoke with leaders of the Catholic, LDS and Southern Baptist churches. According to a spokesperson for the USCCB, Bishop Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, the bishop liaison to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, called Cardinal Timothy Dolan after BSA leaders spoke to him. Dolan did not express support for the change in that conversation, the source said. The USCCB had previously declined to comment about the situation.
Sources say both the Baptists and the Mormons are in contact with the Catholic church on the issue, but details on the discussions are confidential. The Mormon church has said publicly that it will not take a position until the BSA makes a final decision, but the Southern Baptists have been vocal in their opposition to the plan.
The BSA was considering changing its policy on gays at its executive meeting last month to allow each chapter to decide whether to allow gay scouts, volunteers or leaders. It was pressured to make the change by some corporate sponsors and some of its chapters. After hearing from groups opposed to the change, however, it decided to delay the decision until May.
The Christian Post has been in contact with the BSA, but it has not provided a response at the time of publication. A call to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting had also not been returned at the time of publication.