Girls Can Play CYO Football, Archbishop Decides
The ruling takes effect this fall for Philadelphia-area Catholic Youth Organization teams, the archdiocese announced Thursday.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has directed the archdiocese's Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) football league to begin allowing girls to play, the archdiocese announced Thursday.
The league previously had a written policy to exclude girls from full-contact sports. Most people on a panel that recently studied the issue at Chaput's direction recommended preserving the policy, but Chaput decided otherwise, according to the archdiocese's announcement.
An 11-year-old Bucks County girl played last fall before archdiocese officials told her she couldn't anymore. Caroline Pla, of Doylestown, and her parents launched a massive petition drive to lobby to change the policy, Doylestown Patch reported.
The full statement from the archdiocese follows:
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) recently concluded a review of its existing policy limiting full contact sports to boys only.
That policy reflected the Catholic thought that gender differences are important and play a large role in the development of mature Christian male and female identity. It was also written in an effort to serve the distinct needs and abilities of male and female athletes and to ensure safety.
At the request of Archbishop Charles Chaput, an Archdiocesan panel of coaches, parents, pastors and experts in sports medicine and pediatrics evaluated the current CYO policy and offered their recommendation. By a wide majority, members voted to continue the policy as written. The Archbishop is grateful for their time and prudent counsel. To obtain input from the broadest possible spectrum, the Archdiocese also reviewed feedback from various other sources, both critical and supportive of the policy. Lastly, all possible factors were considered including the expectations of coaches, parents, and pastors, common current practice, legal circumstances and the CYO policies of dioceses around the country.
At the direction of the Archbishop, the Archdiocese will allow for co-ed participation in CYO football, effective in the 2013 season. This approval is provisional. The decision will be reviewed and revised in the coming several seasons, as judged appropriate by the Archdiocese. Alternate options had merit and may be revisited in the future to ensure that any CYO sports program fosters an enjoyable and safe atmosphere providing for proper human formation, sportsmanship and Christian maturity.
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