the daily musings ... of faith and culture, of life and love, of fun and games, of a song and dance man, who is keeping his day job.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Keeping the “Ch” in “Chanukkah” 2013
Today at sundown marks the end of the Jewish Festival of Lights, known as Chanukkah (Hanukkah, or חנוכה), which commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, following the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BC. It is observed for eight nights, as a reminder of the miracle of one night's supply of oil for the lamps lasting for eight, until a fresh supply could be obtained.
Around the turn of this century, our director of communications was a devout Jewish woman, who invited all the staff to her house in the country for a holiday celebration. A highlight of the affair was her presentation with her grandchildren, as she told them of the story of Chanukkah. As the rest of us Gentiles watched, she would lead the children in the Hebrew chant for the occasion: “Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Chanukkah...” While others stood around watching in varying degrees of perplexity, I found myself singing with the children ... well, maybe sort of following along.
I turned to my son: "Does this sound familiar, like what you hear in the Divine Liturgy?" He nodded, as I continued. "This is where we get the Byzantine chant, and the Gregorian chant. It came to us from the Jews." He totally got it.
A comedian named Adam Sandler first introduced this holiday classic on NBC's Saturday Night Live. The song gives a list of famous celebrities from various walks of life who are Jewish: “Put on your yarmulke, here comes Hanukkah / It's so much funukkah, to celebrate Hanukkah / Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights / Instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights!”
There's more where that came from.
This is an original work by Matisyahu. “Miracle” is produced by Dr Luke protégé Kool Kojak (Flo Rida, Katy Perry, Ke$ha), and is drenched in a joyful spirit, with chiming synths, bouncing beats, and an irresistible chorus. And ice skating.
There are so many Christmas songs out there. I wanted to give the Jewish kids something to be proud of. We've got Adam Sandler's song, which is hilarious, but I wanted to try to get across some of the depth and spirituality inherent in the holiday in a fun, celebratory song. My boy Kojak was in town so at the last minute we went into the studio in the spirit of miracles and underdogs and this is what we came up with. Happy Hannukah!
Matisyahu can be found on Facebook, and followed on Twitter. The song can also be downloaded from iTunes.
Finally, on a serious note, Charlie Harare explains the origins of Chanukkah, and its meaning in daily life from a Jewish point of view, which is only reasonable as this is a Jewish holiday. Yeah, I know, Jews are not Catholics, I got that. But if the New Covenant is the fulfillment of the Old, and if Catholicism is the fulfillment of Judaism, then we cannot rule out the possibility that there is something to be learned here. And a Catholic who watches this video will learn for themselves.
However you slice it, “It's beginning to look a lot like...”
You remember the 1642 painting by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669) commonly known by the title above, but less well known as “The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch preparing to march out,” don't you? Sure you do. Have you ever wanted to see the painting come to life? What devotee of the great masters of Renaissance painting wouldn't?
Here it is for your viewing pleasure, at a shopping mall in the Netherlands, complete with some guy stealing a chicken, guards rappelling down from the ceiling, other guards carrying big sticks not knowing what to do at first, still other guards riding horses in the aforementioned shopping mall, and a soundtrack written one-hundred-and-forty-three years later -- all for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.
When I was very young, some of my classmates would leave their shoes outside the bedroom door on the night of the fifth of December, so that Saint Nicholas would leave them treats.
We never did that at our house, but I did ask Mom how it was that Saint Nicholas got to be called Santa Claus. By this time I had already determined a connection between the two. But while my mother was salutatorian of her high school class -- there were ten students at most, but that's not the point -- she was not one to wear her erudition on her sleeve. So, rather than go into an entymological treatise on the subject, she simply told me: “Say ‘Santa Claus’ three times real fast.” That carried me over for at least a few years.
No good Catholic home is without an answer to the question of whether there is such a thing as Santa Claus. There is, but that is a corruption of his real name, one that developed over the centuries. By the time devotion to Saint Nicholas reached Europe, he was known by different names. In the British Isles, he was known as "Father Christmas." In the Netherlands, he was known as "Sinterklaas," which is how we got the name that people use today. Whatever people call him, the Bishop of Myra in the fourth century is a real person, and he presently dwells in Heaven with the Communion of Saints.
He was no lightweight. He was in attendance at the Council of Nicaea when the Arian heresy was being debated. At one point, he became so enraged with the Bishop Arius (whose errors were supported by the majority of bishops up to that time, remember), that he supposedly punched Arius in the nose. That's right, kids, Jolly Olde Saint Nick cold-cocked a heretic. (Some accounts say that he merely slapped him, but that's so pansy, who'd believe it?) Anyway, many of the bishops there, including the Emperor Constantine, were scandalized by the assault, and given their sympathies, had Nicholas thrown in the dungeon. That night, the Emperor had a dream where Nicholas appeared to him, adorned in his finest liturgical vesture, and holding the Book of the Gospels. Awakened with a fright, the Emperor summoned his guards, who joined him as he raced to the dungeon, to find Nicholas unchained, with ... you guessed it.
The story varies in certain details. Some accounts tell of Our Lord and Our Lady appearing to Nicholas in the dungeon. I heard the above account from an "Old Calendar" Russian Orthodox priest. It is also said that Nicholas, now restored to his rightful place in the council, slept through the rest of the proceedings. I can't say I blame him.
At the little Byzantine Rite parish where my son learned the Faith, as it had been taught to his mother, the Feast of Saint Nicholas is a really big deal. He is the patron of Byzantine Catholics, and his image graces the iconostasis on the far left side as viewed from the assembly. There is a special hymn dedicated to "Father Nicholas" ...
O kto kto, Nikolaja l'ubit,
O kto kto, Nikolaju sluzit.
Tomu svjatyj Nikolaj,
Na vsjakij cas pomahaj.
O who loves Nicholas the Saintly,
O who loves Nicholas the Saintly.
Him will Nicholas receive,
and give help in time of need.
... and the children in the School of Religion program do a pageant in his honor every Sunday closest to the sixth of December. It culminates in the arrival of an elderly man with a long white beard, dressed in the robes of an Eastern bishop, with whom the children meet in much the same manner as they would his commercialized counterpart.
Paul used to get special icon cookies to take home, much like the ones that appear in the photos, emblazoned with the words "O Holy Nicholas" in Slavonic. These unique gingerbread cookies are from a recipe which appears at the stnicholascenter.org website.
I dearly miss that little parish. It has changed over the years. My duties at St John the Beloved have prevented me from attending there, and they have completed a new and larger place of worship next to the original, one that emulates the style common to Eastern Europe. But with every successful building project they have -- the parish hall, the rectory -- the place seems a little less homey, a little larger than life. Still, the spirit of Saint Nicholas reminds them every year, of the things that are passed on, and that remain the same.
Most of you remember the news ticker that appeared at the top of this page. While we here at man with black hat like to present a balance of views when it comes to such venues, much of the news about the Catholic Church was not only an endorsement of dissenting opinions, but were a means of attacking the Faith itself. Well, we're not in the business of attacking our Holy Mother Church, nor do we intend to enable those who do. When that ticker ticked us off for the last time, we gave it the old heave-ho!
At present, we are testing a ticker from Fox News (as in "Fair. Balanced.") but are having some code problems. Once those clowns at our Tech Support Division get through playing with the PS4 game console we got them for the break room, they'll get right on it, and you'll be the first to know.
Regular viewers will notice a gap of about two weeks, comprising what would have been the latter half of November. There was a backlog at that time due to an unanticipated amount of research required for at least three works in progress. Then there's that pesky day job.
In any case, they will be completed over the course of this week, and will be appropriately over-promoted. Stay tuned, and stay in touch.
“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Return-To-Dodge-City Edition)
I was going to call it the "Cyber Monday Edition," but with internet shopping on the rise, the Monday following Thanksgiving is taking on less significance, and the reference is actually on the verge of becoming passé. And speaking of Thanksgiving, as we remember the fun we all had on such a blessed holiday, watch what this loser tried to pull off on hers. (Really? People actually fell for that "call to action" from the President?)
Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:
• Remember that waitress from New Jersey who got a Bible-thumping message instead of a gratuity because she was a lesbian? Or something? (What do they do, wear a sign?) Well, there's more to the story. Or, should we say ... less? [Hot Air]
• It starts out with redefining marriage as between two men or two women. Then there's a story about a marriage of a man and a woman. Find out how that's when it gets weird. [New York Post]
• Growing up in Ohio, I heard a joke about Toledo. Michigan and Ohio almost went to war over their border, and Ohio lost. Apparently it wasn't a joke. [Mental Floss]
• My son Paul opins: "Hi, I'm Jeff Bezos. Journalists are powerless to stop me as I 'drone' on and on about magical Silicon Valley billionaire fan fiction." It's come to this, people. [CBS News]
• Finally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, someone asked a bunch of Britons to fill out a map of the United States by identifying the States themselves. Let's see how they did. (Certain references have been slightly altered to suit our discriminating audience.) [happyplace.somecards.com]
And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.
Brethren: you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. R. Thanks be to God.
V. O Lord, hear our prayer. R. And let our cry come unto Thee. V. Let us pray ...
Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
... that time of year when we celebrate Christmas for roughly four weeks, beginning in late November, and ending abruptly on the day following that which is actually Christmas. On Sirius XM satellite radio, six channels are devoted solely to Christmas music (and one to Channukah), some beginning as early as now, three ending on (you guessed it) the day after Christmas, and two others ending on New Year's Eve. The Latino channel goes until January 7. Don't ask me why. Needless to say, the stores are already in full swing with holiday decorations and people killing each other at Walmart for a steal on pre-paid cellphones.
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In response to premature but well-intentioned attempts at goodwill, one of my good colleagues once remarked that, even with this overture of light-heartedness in the midst of crass commercialism, “they are committing the same anti-Advent error as the secular culture is. Some counter-sign!”
He's right, but is there an alternative?
’TIS THE SEASON
It should first be remembered that the Advent season, which begins one week from today, is itself part of the Christmas Cycle, that which traditionally began the liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent, and continued on into the twelve days of the Christmas season, and thereafter into Epiphanytide, up until the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima (the three Sundays that were prelude to Ash Wednesday). To celebrate Advent then, is already to celebrate Christmas, if only to a point.
Is Advent only about doing penance?
Modern dilettantes on matters liturgical like to tell people, at their sophomoric weekend workshops, that Advent is really not like Lent at all, that it is a season of expectation, not penance. Nearly two thousand years of evidence suggests this to be, at the very least, misleading. In the Eastern churches, the forty days preceding Christmas is one of the four seasons of fasting, with what is known in the West as Lent referred to as "the Great Fast." It begins with the Feast of Saint Philip on the 14th of November (according to the Eastern calendar), and is therefore known among the Slavs as "Filipovka." Even in the West, the notion of fasting or abstinence, is akin to the Famine before the Feast. Yes, it is indeed about penance, if for a purpose that is different from Lent, and yet similar to a point.
The time for those of the Domestic Church to stop wringing their hands, and taking matters into them instead, is long overdue. This venue has been active in the same cause for nearly a decade. (Where the hell have the rest of you been?) Parents who complain that their children will grow up learning nothing of Christmas but crass commercialism, and that the 26th of December is the day of the Big Anti-Climax, have an alternative. They'll have to work at it a little. They may even have to find other families of like mind within their parish, whether or not they ask for the pastor's cooperation in putting the kabosh on parish "Christmas parties" in mid-December.
You can almost hear it now.
“But, but, Mister and Missus McGillacuddy, the families will tell me they’ll all be out of town.”
"But, but, Father, that still doesn’t make it Christmas yet, does it?"
On the other hand, we all know what awaits the church bulletin in certain other places, which isn't much better.
THE PASTOR'S CORNER
Here at Our Lady of Perpetual Mediocrity, we remember the sacred dreariness of the Advent season, with the forbidding of any and all celebrations on parish property, so as not to take away from the 24-hour-maximum joy of the feast of our blessed Savior's birth, not to mention the fullness of the twelve days of the Christmas season (more or less depending on when Epiphany falls on a Sunday; God forbid the Church interfere with your weekdays), when you'll all be out of town anyway.
Yours in Christ,
Father Billy Bob
THAT NASTY HUMAN EQUATION
In dealing with the celebration of Christmas in its proper perspective, we must first remember that what we have now, with endless shopping and carols on the radio in preparation for a single day, appeals to our nature. We have an innate sense of the seasons of the year, the times of our lives. We delight in anticipation, or else the department stores would have nothing to which to elicit the usual response. And yet, we have also led ourselves to believe that taking more than a day off to celebrate anything is somehow excessive unless we leave town over it. We are just as likely to spend over a month preparing to celebrate the second biggest holyday in the Church year on only one day, just like everyone else. So why should the rest of the world take the idea seriously that Advent isn't Christmas yet? We don't behave as if it is anymore than our neighbors, except when we complain about ... well, our neighbors. At least they're having more fun with it than us.
Every year at man with black hat, we celebrate the season before, during, and after the Feast of the Nativity. You and your family can celebrate each day with us. But first, we begin with Advent.
THE ADVENT WREATH
The most popular household devotion of Advent is, of course, the Advent wreath, which originated among the German people as early as the 17th century. What began as the lighting of one candle for each day in December leading to the 25th, eventually evolved into the lighting of four candles to mark the Sundays of Advent, usually at the start of the evening meal. For the first week, one is lit; for the second, two, and so on, until all are lighted up to the eve of the Nativity. The candles are traditionally purple, to coincide with the penitential nature of the season, as seen in the priest's vestments. The third candle is usually pink (or more properly, rose) to mark the mid-season occasion that is Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday.
This display is also popular in parish churches, which is somewhat of an anomaly, as it is not a liturgical practice in the strict sense, but a pious custom more suited to the home. Be that as it may ...
At the beginning, especially if there are children, they may be invited to begin by singing the first verse and chorus of "O Come O Come Emmanuel" as the appropriate number of candles are lit. A portion of Scripture for the Mass or Office of the Day may be read. The devotion culminates with the traditional Collect of the Mass for that Sunday.
V. O Lord, hear our prayer.
R. And let our cry come unto Thee.
V. Let us pray ...
Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we mat attain to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth and reigneth, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions: and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
O Lord, we beseech Thee, stir up Thy power, and come, and with great might succor us: that by the help of Thy grace that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Thy merciful forgiveness: Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.
Beginning on Christmas Eve, the violent and rose candles are replaced by white candles, which remain until the end of the Twelve Days. (Devotions associated with the Twelve Days of Christmas will be found within this venue at the proper time. Stay tuned ...)
THE ADVENT CALENDAR
Another popular devotion is the Advent calendar, which marks the days of December leading up to Christmas, irrespective of the beginning of Advent (which begins anywhere from November 27 to December 3). This practice, which originated among German Lutherans in the 18th century, had origins similar to the Advent wreath, with the lighting of candles to mark the days. Eventually the use of the wreath would evolve into either the wreath, or an elaborate structure resembling a calendar, but with closed compartments each containing a small gift, to be opened one evening at a time until Christmas Eve.
Most of us have seen inexpensive Advent calendars in card shops and church bookstores, but there are some very good ones that can entertain the children of the house, or otherwise remain as treasures over the years. One of our favorites is the Kurt Adler Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar (see image above), which comes complete with 24 magnetic figures contained behind their respective doors. Each day, a figure is removed from its container, and placed appropriately on the empty manger scene, to be completed on the night before Christmas. At a price from Amazon of just under $69 (with alternative distributors selling for a bit less), it may be a bit expensive, unless you consider it as lasting for several years, and passing it down to your children when they have families of their own.
If you order now, it will only be a little bit late.
And yet, what if you want to make your own, and you want it tomorrow? Here's a great idea. The Pottery Barn has this one at a steal for only $143.00. But hey, for a fraction of that, you could go to the arts and crafts store, find twenty-five tiny baskets, the same number of adhesive numerals, and a properly shaped cardboard or particle board, and whip up one of these puppies over the weekend. (Personally, I'd number them starting at the bottom, not the top. But hey, that's just me.)
THE JESSE TREE
Another form of the Advent calendar is the "Jesse Tree." This depiction of multiple imagery is that of the ancestry of Our Lord. At its heart is a passage from the book of the prophet Isaiah: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” (11:1) Examples in stained glass of cathedrals date to the 11th century. You can find a cornucopia of examples by clicking here or here, or you can use the image provided here. Simply click on it, print it out at its actual size, paste it on card stock, and cut out the images, hanging them on a small artificial tree on a counter top or kitchen table. This can be a wonderful learning tool for the entire family. Descriptions of various schemes can be found at fisheaters.com.
THE SAINTS OF THE SEASON
There are a number of saints' feast days which occur during the month of December, which have over the centuries developed a close association with the preparation of Christmas; among them, Saint Barbara on the 4th of December, Saint Nicholas on the 6th, and Saint Lucy on the 13th. The customs associated with them will be described as they arise in December, but if you click on the name of the saint, the folks at Fisheaters.com can give you a head start. After all, at least one of them involves baking cookies.
On a related note, we would be remiss if we did not remind you of the calendar feature at The Old Farmer's Almanac, which will show you the "red-letter days" of December (including saints) on the first of the month.
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It is hoped that the above can provide you and yours with a means of commemorating the season, in a way that will delight your children, and teach them something of their precious Catholic heritage. There will be more depictions and devotions as the season progresses, and we celebrate the Year of Grace here at man with black hat.
Stay tuned, and stay in touch.
(H/T to Fisheaters.com for their extensive research into Catholic customs, and also to Ryan for presenting us with the challenge.)
He identifies himself as Presbyterian, but he has much to say to a Catholic, during a month when Catholics are admonished to consider the Last Things, as he muses on the passing of old neighbors, and the greeting of new ones, as one might the changing of the seasons.
Earlier this year, we reported on the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to revise its membership policy with respect to youth members and sexual orientation. The relevant section of the policy up to this time, one that was supported by the 2000 Supreme Court decision in Boy Scouts of America v Dale, is as follows:
In the world of Catholic new media, there has been discussion on this topic at one time or another this past year, as would-be pundits advise Catholic families on what they should or should not do. They draw their conclusions with little in the way of hard evidence, that continued association with the BSA, as of the 23rd of May last, is definitive cooperation with an objective moral evil. Or something.
As poorly thought out as this is, at least it heads in the right direction. What's more, it pales in comparison to the vascilating stance taken by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.
The above has probably been the most forthright statement to date by any Catholic bishop on the issue.
We hear a lot about how people with same-sex attraction (and the assumption is that "sexual orientation" is limited to that issue) should be treated "with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons." The reality is, that this is not what the Church teaches on homosxuality; it is what the Church teaches on everything! “In omnia, caritas.” In all things, charity. Our mother the Church does not call us to condemnation, but to conversion. She wants us to unite with the Bridegroom, and be happy with Him forever in Heaven. Hers is a message of love, not of hate. What appears at a distance to be a bitter pill, is simply the Bread of Life.
Meanwhile, we hear little from the NCCS on how unnatural sexual proclivities are "an objective disorder," and are an inclination towards "an objective moral evil." That is most assuredly what the Church teaches on homosexuality. A genuine teaching moment has been reduced to a public relations campaign, trying to assure everybody that we promise to be nice, please don't hurt us. As a result, there is little in the way of authoritative direction. And so, at the local level, pastors decide not to sponsor Boy Scout troops at the end of the year (often without even discerning their own bishop's position, as though the Church operates on a congregational polity), parents pull their kids out of Scouting, in some cases as they are about to be eligible for the Eagle Award -- all this without guidance, without an alternative, without much of anything.
To limit the concern of Church officials to merely explicit sexual activity is morally problematic in itself, not so much for what it says, as for what it does not say. Dr Denise Hunnell is a wife and mother with a long history of involvement in Boy Scouting. Not content to rest on those laurels, she brings up the obvious:
Unfortunately, the tepid response that is evident in the NCCS position has been the extent of intellectual rigor among so many Catholic leaders involved in Scouting until now. I have spoken to a number of such leaders at the local level. The responses, including to such as the above, are no less depressing.
A local commissioner who liaises with a Catholic unit: "I don't see the difference here, David."
A decorated Scout leader and recipient of a religious award for his service to Catholic scouting: "I don't have a dog in this hunt."
The scoutmaster of a Troop sponsored by a Catholic parish: "It's above my pay grade."
No kidding. Grown men actually say this stuff.
In the roughly three months this past spring, during what the BSA referred to as a "family discussion," little more than a staged exercise of consultation as prelude to a foregone conclusion, was like a bad remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers once the "pod people" started taking over. I heard more inane and ill-formed observations in two or three months from seasoned and otherwise-sensible veterans of Scouting, than I had in the nine years I had been back in uniform.
The good Doctor, on the other hand, is quite correct to imply elsewhere in her treatise, that the leadership of the NCCS has been naive in its approach to the subject. Even children who prepare for First Communion are taught (or should be taught) the Act of Contrition, that they may make a proper Confession, in which they promise "to sin no more, to avoid the near occasion of sin, to do penance, and to amend my life ..." In other words, it is not enough to avoid sin, but also to avoid those situations which invariably lead to sin. It is what the Jews refer to as "building a wall around Torah." The purpose of the wall (or the fence, depending on your translation) is not only to keep something in, but to keep something else out. To put it another way, in the words of Father Peter Stravinskas: "If you want to avoid the unthinkable, you draw the lines well in advance." Those among the Catholic leadership who advise the BSA do not appear to see this as a problem, which is not about a deficiency in theology, but a more basic level of catechesis -- from bishops, no less, and the intellectual dwarfs who do their bidding!
Over the next few weeks at this time, man with black hat will be laying out the new landscape of the scouting movement in the United States, particularly as it has emerged in the last year.
Part 2 of this series will introduce the reader to what are referred to as the "aims and methods of Scouting," and will give some background on the history of so-called "independent scouting." It will provide a brief glance at how a traditional scouting program would look and operate, and what it would provide, based upon the writings of Lord Baden Powell of Gilwell, the father of the scouting movement, and his 1907 Brownsea Island experiment.
With Part 2 as a basis for comparison, Parts 3, 4, and 5 will each present a possible alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (in the form of Trail Life USA, Troops of Saint George, and the Federation of North American Explorers, respectively). Finally, Part 6 will show why remaining with the Boy Scouts of America, all else notwithstanding, may or may not still be the best alternative over the long haul.
If you are a mother or father of a Catholic household with boys in Scouting, you want to read this series.
If you are a parish or diocesan youth minister, or a Catholic priest whose parish has sponsored a Scout Troop, and you want to know what to do next (while waiting for the diocesan youth ministry office to get it together), you want to read this series.
If you are with a diocesan youth ministry office, or a diocesan Scouting chaplaincy, and are tired of waiting for said dicastery to get it together on this subject, you want to read this series.
Concern is raised in this venue over the limiting of the problem to explicit sexual engagement, when the problem is really broader than that. Most people who think beyond the ends of their noses know, that nobody ever joins Boy Scouting with the expectation of getting laid. (There, I said it.) We must conclude, therefore, that there is more to this issue than the one-dimensional approach employed up to now.
If you agree (or if you don't, and would dare this writer to prove otherwise), you want to read this series.
(NOTE: If you are a parish priest, and need to know a few things sooner rather than later, you know where to find me.)
The thing is, many Catholics with boys in Scouting are willing to listen to anybody with enough initials after his or her name, or enough visibility in Catholic new media, who would accuse them of leading their child down the road to perdition had they not burned his uniform sometime after May 23rd, without even suggesting a viable option. (By "viable," I refer to concept of scouting as described above, as opposed to a Catholic boys club whose members all wear the same polo shirts and pray the Rosary around the campfire.) Maybe it's about time we all brought the conversation up a notch, don't you think?
“Our entire daily lives cannot be occupied with purely religious practices; all of us have to eat, and most of us have and want to do many other activities besides. So though we cannot always be religious in this sense, we can always be Catholic, that is, the round of our daily activities can be conducted in such a way as to express and be in harmony with our Faith. And [this] can involve more than avoiding sin and exercising virtue.”