The connection between the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic parishes and schools in the Diocese of Honolulu officially came to an end Jan 1.
The decision was made at the start of 2023 when Bishop Larry Silva announced the diocese would be parting ways with the Boy Scouts of America on the first day of the year 2024 due to sexual abuse allegations.
In a letter released on Jan. 31, 2023, the bishop wrote, “Unfortunately, given the liability issues and our dissatisfaction with the BSA’s cooperation on the issue, we will no longer allow parishes and parish schools to charter a BSA unit, nor will BSA units be allowed to meet in our facilities.”
“It is important that we continue to minister to our youth in various ways, but continuing our longstanding relationship with BSA has become more of a liability than we judge it prudent to bear,” he said.
When the announcement was made, there were about 10 Catholic-sponsored Boy Scout USA units throughout the diocese.
Although youth can no longer join a Catholic-chartered Boy Scout unit in the diocese, Gomes said that there are other options that offer similar activities.
“Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish (in Pearl City) has an American Heritage Girls (AHG) troop. AHG is a Christ-centered program for girls from ages 5-18 years of age. There is an equivalent group for boys called Trail Life USA. However, there is currently no active unit in our parishes,” said Gomes.
The bishop said that each U.S. diocese made its own decision about whether to keep sponsoring Boy Scouts. Other dioceses have also decided to no longer allow its parishes to charter or sponsor a troop or pack.