Pope Francis on Friday praised Catholic girl scout leaders’ “absolutely crucial” role in educating women for their vocation and responsibilities in a world of ideologies that work against God and treat women as inferior. “Today it is very important that womanhood be properly appreciated … we are in a world where we see the spread of ideologies contrary to nature and God’s design for the family and marriage,” Pope Francis told a delegation of scouting leaders June 26. “It is therefore necessary to educate girls not only to the beauty and grandeur of their vocation as women, in a fair and differentiated relationship between man and woman, but also to take on important responsibilities in the Church and in society.” He continued, saying that “education is the indispensable means for enabling girls to grow into active and responsible women, proud and happy in the faith in Christ they live in their everyday life. In this way they will participate in the construction of a world imbued with the Gospel.” In his remarks at Vatican City’s Clementine Hall, the Pope said girl scout organizations can play a major role in improving the situation of women in countries where they are treated as inferiors, exploited or mistreated. Pope Francis addressed delegates from the International Catholic Conference of Guiding. The organization supports Catholic girl scouts and girl guides in 49 countries around the world and unites national scouting organizations. The girl guides conference has gathered in Rome on the 50th anniversary of its founding to reflect on the theme “Living as a guide for the joy of the Gospel.” Pope Francis praised this theme, saying that its program proclaims “that encountering Jesus frees us and heals us … opens us to other and drives us to announce him, especially to the poorest and most distant, the lonely and abandoned.” The Pope noted that scouting’s educational method gives an important role to contact with nature. He connected this with his recent encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato Si'. “I hope that guides will continue to be alert to the presence and the goodness of the Creator in the beauty of the world that surrounds them,” he said. “This contemplative attitude will lead them to live in harmony with themselves, with others and with God. It is a new way of life, more coherent with the gospel, that they will be able to transmit to others around them.” He especially encouraged girl scout leaders to teach in a way that is open to a life consecrated to God, saying that the scouting movement has been very fruitful in this area. The Pope’s comments about ideologies contrary to God’s design for marriage came hours before the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, protected by the 14th amendment.
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.