From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Scouting’s principles offer positive action to offset world-wide injustice

by Father Terence Tully, for the Inland Register

(From the May 3, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

“To help other people at all times” is a phrase in the Scout Oath that I find so demanding that I doubt it can be done. But last month I heard two speakers complain that it is not being done and we are morally bound to do better.

They were not speaking about Scouting, but the application can be easily made, seeing that Scouting is a worldwide movement.

One speaker, James Waller, psychology professor at Whitworth College, will soon publish a book on the subject, which he has titled Children of Cain: How Ordinary People Commit Extraordinary Evil. The other speaker, Father Charles Skok, moral theology teacher at Gon-zaga University, gave a Lenten talk to parishioners of Sacred Heart church, Spokane, in which he listed seven imperatives that followers of Christ need to abide by if they are to faithful to his moral teachings.

Two of the imperatives are to practice justice toward nations where desperate poverty or age-old feuds are causing adults and children to suffer and die from weapons of mass destruction or open warfare. The other imperative is the obligation to be ecumenical and to stop conflicts between opposing religions, religious wars with similar tragic results.

Like Waller, Father Skok said apathy and indifference toward these conflicts are immoral and unchristian.

What can Scouting do with its emphasis in helping other people?

I think of two ways in which to contact Scouting in its international dimension. One is through the World Scout Bureau located in Geneva, Switzerland. The other is The International Catholic Conference on Scouting with headquarters in Rome. This latter organization is represented in the United States by Father Randy Cuevas of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. I’ll contact him after he returns from an executive committee meeting of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting where he is as I write this. I am afraid I may encounter a language barrier if I start with the Geneva office of the World Scout Bureau.

Two countries in Africa where tragic conflicts are raging — Sudan and Rwanda — have the Scout Movement operating in their territories, according to the 1990 edition of a 160-page book, Scouting ‘Round the World, published by the World Scout Bureau. Is it possible that these Scout activities can work toward peace, especially if encouraged by Scout leaders around the world? Before we say no, let us pray for wisdom and energy to work for peace on a large scale.

One of the speakers I heard, Dr. Waller, said the savage conflicts now occurring are like the Holocaust destruction of the Jews in World War II. That tragedy was largely ignored when it was happening, as these and similar mass destructions are being ignored today. We have not learned the lesson.

Scouts to promote Ad Altare Dei

I am inviting Scouts who have earned the Ad Altare Dei emblem to tell their experience to other Scouts at the Sept. 8 Catholic Camporee in Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and also help teach Scout skills and entertain at the evening campfire program. Eagle Scout Jonathan Schmitz has received the AAD emblem and is youth member of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. He will contact other AAD Scouts so that they can plan their participation in the Catholic Camporee. AAD counselors and other adult leaders will help but the work of AAD Scouts will exemplify the “boys teaching boys” principle of Scouting.

Coming Events

  • Catholic Camporee, Camp Easton on Lake Coeur d’Alene, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2001. For information or registration, contact Sam Richart, 5512 N. F St., Spokane, WA 99205, (509) 328-8448.
  • Bishop’s Recognition Day, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane, 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002. Bishop William Skylstad will confer religious emblems on Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Boys and Girls.


For information on the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting and its activities, contact Father Terence Tully, diocesan Scout chaplain, 221 E. Rockwood Blvd, Apt. 308, Spokane, WA 99202-1200, phone (509) 458-7674; or James Burgen, chairman of Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, 303 W. 8th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204. Pager phone (509) 880-5498. Click here for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s web site!

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