Guest Author - Erik Moeller
The article below appeared in Zenit and is printed below. Zenit is a group that publishes information about the activities and proclamations of the Pope.
As this significant birthday for Scouting gets closer for us in the US, I would encourage anyone who has recognitions of this event by significant individuals or groups to forward the information to me. I will print or link to the appropriate site. This article was forwarded to me by a close friend in our council.
Pope Praises Scouts on 100th Anniversary
Says They Offer Integral Formation to Youth
VATICAN CITY, JULY 5, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI recognized the fruits offered to the world and the Church by Scouts, in honor of the 100th anniversary of their foundation.
The Pope said this in a letter addressed to Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux and president of the French bishops' conference.
Aug. 1 marks the centenary of the first Scout camp, held on the island of Brownsea, in England, and organized by Sir Baden-Powell (1857-1941), founder of the World Scout Movement.
"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."
"I thank the Lord for all the fruits that, throughout these last 100 years, the Scouts have offered," he said.
He encouraged Catholic Scouts to go forward on their path, offering "to boys and girls of today an education that forms them with a strong personality, based on Christ and willing to live for the high ideals of faith and human solidarity."
Benedict XVI's message ends with advice from Baden-Powell: "Be faithful to your Scout promise, even when you are no longer young, and may God help you to do so!
"When man seeks to be faithful to his promises, the Lord himself strengthens his steps."