Sunday, January 8, 2012

CYO Coaches Offer Prayer, Atheists Object, Priest Conflicted

This is a good sign from CYO, which is part of San Francisco's Catholic Charities.

Yesterday's Marin Independent Journal reports:

Call for prayer at games irks some San Geronimo Valley residents

"A decision by Catholic Youth Organization leaders to ask young athletes to pray before basketball games has touched a nerve among residents of the San Geronimo Valley.

'I understand that if we rent to one religious group, we have to rent to them all. But I still don't like it,' said Richard Sloan, a trustee of the Lagunitas School District, which co-owns the San Geronimo Valley Gym. 'I'm going to put up a sign in front of the gym: 'If you don't pray in my school, I won't think in your church.'

Officials from the San Francisco-based Catholic Charities CYO — which oversees athletic programs in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties — insist children won't be forced to pray against their will, and that the organization has attempted to be as sensitive as possible in creating a prayer for its athletes. Hundreds of Marin students in the third through eighth grades participate in the group's boys' and girls' basketball games at venues throughout the county, including Marin Academy, the Pickleweed Park Community Center in San Rafael and Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo.

The decision to pray, Johnson Clendinen said, came not from the organization itself but from its association of athletic directors, who voted on the proposal in January 2011...."

The article claimed that some parents were unaware of CYO's relgious affiliation--unaware that the "C" in "CYO" stood for Catholic. That's NOT a good sign--people should have no doubt that "Catholic" organizations are Catholic--but now they do know. If he is being quoted accurately, one of the local pastors certainly did not express any support for the coaches:

"Even the Rev. Cyril O'Sullivan, pastor at St. Cecilia's Church, is worried about the consequences of the organization's decision.'"

I'm told that the prayer is not being pushed on any families, that people have a choice,' said O'Sullivan, who added that he had only learned of the CYO's decision on Friday. 'But I don't like anything that causes division. Prayer, if it becomes divisive, would be a very poor form of prayer.'"

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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