The « Charter of natural and Christian principles of European Scouting » is one of the « core texts of UIGSE-FSE ». Bruno Rondet presents here his reflections about this important federal document.
Text of article 7
“Scouting defines itself as an education method thus differing both in its nature and its final objective from “youth movements” the prime object of which is to serve the State or some political, secular or even spiritualistic ideology. Unlike such “youth movements”, scouting considers itself to be, besides school, complementary to the education given by the family to whom the child belongs primarily.”
As a movement of education, European Scouting chooses a way giving priority to the full development of the person. This human and Christian formation implies fair spiritual requirements. Hostile to any ideological and political annexation, it rejects the totalitarian conception of State youth movements. It respects the differences of race, language, culture and religion. Complementary to the parents’ action, it receives part of the families’ authority upon the young people, whose parents are first responsible for them.
As far as schools are concerned, unfortunately, we must notice that since the redaction of our Charter, in some countries, not all of them still respond to the parents’ educational concerns.
1/. Scouting wants to educate young people’s whole person
Scouting was thought by Baden-Powell and father Jacques Sevin as a method of complete education of the whole person. Complementary to the families who entrust their children to it, it wants to form your people’s whole person, that is to say not only in their human dimension but also as baptised persons.
When you read BP’s books, you are struck by his continuous references to God, religion, the evangelical precepts. Thus, he is perceived as a very wise pedagogue, if we consider the constitution of the human being and the way its various zones interact between each other.
Here is what doctor Patrick Thellier explains : “The soul, situated between the body and the spirit, linked to the world by the body and to the spiritual world by the spirit, allowing the interaction between the spirit and the body, is the pivot of the whole being.
Its role is not so easy. It must both bow towards the body and vitalise it and rise up towards the spirit and spiritualise itself. In the perfect man, as he has been created, there is a hierarchy: the body is submitted to the soul, the soul to the spirit, and the spirit takes its life from God. This man is in heaven: fully blossomed, fully happy. He reigns kindly over creation”.
If the human being cuts himself from his divine source, this balance is destroyed. Then he begins to operate in isolation, which leads to the disintegration of the person. Patrick Thellier explains this process as follows: “On the contrary, the inversion of values, the inversion of the order wanted by God for our happiness, where what is inferior invades what is superior, this is anti-creation and it leads to the disintegration of the person, to what we call sin. In sin, the spirit of man turns away from God, cuts itself from the source that gives it life.
When man wants to do whatever he wants, the spirit is fed by the soul and the soul takes the leadership of the being and looks for its food from the body. The body burns itself out and can only tilt towards destruction and nothingness.
Everything is interdependent. Physical, psychical and spiritual levels have a constant influence upon each other.
So, the essential lissue is to extract the source which is in us from its silt in order to let the Holy Spirit act as deeply as possible on all the layers of our being”.
Quite quickly, the Church has considered scouting as a valid instrument for the education of faith and the growth of Christian life. Indeed, through the scout Promise and the observance of the Law, it offers an educational method giving the possibility of experiencing attitudes and behaviours of faith during the child’s development. With the Good Turn, it educates to free charity. Through the contact with nature, it favours the discovery of God Creator. Finally, the patrol system fosters co-responsibility, which will facilitate later on the social or ecclesial commitment.
Each male or female leader must be aware of the fact that each baptised person is a “new creation” (2 Co 5, 17), “adoptive son and daughter of God” (Gal 4, 5-6), “members of Christ” (1 Co 6, 15) and “temple of the holy Spirit” (1 Co 6, 19). Hence, as leaders, we are necessarily at the service of the supernatural life of those who are entrusted to us and of their religious education.
“If on the one hand, at the federal level, the Federation of European Scouting may not be totally linked to one Church only, any F.S.E. member must, on the other hand, belong to one Church or get ready to belong to it”. As a matter of fact, nobody can pronounce the scout (or guide) promise without being baptised. However, it is possible to admit to the promise a scout (or guide) involved in the catechumenal preparation. In this Promise, we commit ourselves to serve “God, the homeland and Europe”. The service of the Church, actually, requires to be member of the Church by baptism.
2/. Our scouting is called to be an instrument of sanctification
But we must go further. As it is stated in the ceremony of the Rover Departure, as well as in the Ranger’s Commitment and in the 3rd article of the Religious Directory of the Federation of European Scouting: “The F.S.E. gives the primacy to each Christian’s vocation to holiness. A scout or a guide must follow his/her promise, principles and law according to the requirements of the Sermon on the Mountain, true Charter for any Christian life”. A Guide and a Scout of Europe must never forget that the eight beatitudes are precisely symbolized by the eight points of the Cross, that they all wear on their breast, and which must shape “culture of the heart” of each Guide or Scout of Europe.
With the third principle: “A son (daughter) of Christendom, a scout (guide) is proud of his (her) faith: he (she) labours to establish the reign of Christ in all his (her) life and in the world around him (her)”, the FSE reminds us the beauty of our Christian legacy and makes our way towards holiness. It bases its scout Promise, its Mottos, its Principles and its Law on the light of the Gospel. It intends to collaborate with God Educator, in order to lead man towards the greatness for which God has created him.
In this perspective, we are all called to promote, at all levels, in a way adapted to the various ages, a deepening of the faith taught by the Church and a really sacramental style of life. We must consider that the participation to the life of the Church, at parish, dioceses and universal level, are fully part of the “scout style” of our leaders and of the young people who are entrusted to them.
Were it necessary to give another confirmation, the chapter V of the constitution “Lumen Gentium” of the II Vatican Council, as well as the exhortation “Christifideles laici”, clearly say that any association of lay faithful (which is our case) is called to be an instrument of holiness in the Church, by favouring and fostering “closer unity between the concrete life of the members and their faith » (Apostolicam Actuositatem AA 19).
So, our scouting is called not only to awaken in each young person his first and fundamental vocation to holiness but also to be the instrument of this sanctification.
3/. A differentiated education for men and women
Besides, since our foundation in 1956, the experience has fully confirmed the validity of our founders’ initial choice, planning a differentiated education for girls and boys. This choice of differentiation between the female and the male section, in conformity with the scout method as it has been exposed by Baden-Powell, remains an essential element of our pedagogy. This means that the FSE wants to educate young people as persons, in their specificity of man and of woman, meant for each other, in the perspective of the Christian marriage wanted by God, requiring consciousness and matureness. The differentiated education that we apply does not come from excessive fears but from the fact that a long experience shows that the complete and harmonious development of boys and girls, especially at teen age, requires a homogeneous environment. This separation enables everyone to become himself, before opening himself to the other sex at the right time.
4/. An experience of universality
The experience of an international scout brotherhood, within the International Union of Guides and Scouts of Europe, is a privileged means to experience the universality of the Church of Christ. It offers the opportunity of ecumenical dialogue, which helps us grow in behaviours of mutual respect and international brotherhood.
The needs of the scout movement, finally, as for all the other organisations, will never prevail upon the educational needs of its members.
(To be followed)
 Doctor Patrick Theillier, former doctor responsible for the Medical Office of Lourdes, former chairman of the International Medical Association of Lourdes (AMIL), member of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes (CMIL), in «LOURDES des miracles pour notre guérison », Editions Parole et Silence, 2016, p 227 to 229.
 Article 4 of the Religious Directory of the Federation of European Scouting. This article precises that the FSE accepts only young people and associations belonging to one of the following Churches: the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, or one of the Protestant Churches born from the Reformation, confessing Christ’s divinity and recognising the Apostles’ Creed as the faith definition. The Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople is the fruit of the first two ecumenical councils and it is common, still nowadays, to all the big Churches of the East and of the West. Nevertheless, the movement is happy to welcome young people of all ages and all social classes in search or in spiritual expectation, in order to offer the Gospel to them.