CatholicScout Reviews: Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell

Cover of the book, Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell

Lord Baden Powell’s little known follow-on book

Chapter 1: How to be happy though rich – or poor
Chapter 2: Rock number one: Horses
Chapter 3: Rock number two: Wine
Chapter 4: Rock number three: Women
Chapter 5: Rock number four: Cuckoos and Humbugs
Chapter 6: Rock number five: Irreligion
Chapter 7: Rovering, The Aim of the Rover Brotherhood

Contents page from Lord Baden Powell’s book
Rovering to Success

Like any good old book, within the first few pages the author stated his intention in writing the book.


The whole thing-the early voyage through the easy running stream, and then coming out on to the broad lake, the arising of difficulties, the succession of waves and rocks only avoided by careful piloting, the triumph of overcoming the dangers, the successful sliding into a sheltered landing-place, the happy camp-fire and the sleep of tired men at night – is just what a man goes through in life; but too often he gets swamped among the difficulties or temptations on the rough waters, mainly because he has not been warned what to expect and how to deal with them.

I have quoted a few of Stewart White’s practical hints from his experiences in paddling through sea-ways: I want in the following pages to offer you similar piloting hints from my own experiences of dealing with the different snags and waves that you are likely to meet with in paddling through your life-ways.

Among these rocks and breakers are those that can be labelled in the terms of the old toast, “Horses, Wine and Women,” with the addition of Cuckoos and Cant. You are bound to come across most of them in your time. In the following chapters I propose to show you there are good as well as dangerous points about these rocks, and also how by “rovering” you may not only get round them, but also derive advantage and make your way to success.

Rovering to Success was written by Lord Baden Powell in response to young men who were either too old to join Scouts, or who had been through Scouting and wanting some further direction.

Bear in mind that the book was written in 1922, and also that Lord Baden Powell was not a Catholic.

That being said, the book is a gem, it will have you laughing, it will have you crying out “why didn’t I have this book sooner!!!”, but most of all you will learn something that may inspire you, may indeed, change your life.

In some ways the book is prophetic, Lord Baden Powell was a realist, with a wealth of life experience, that many of us could only dream of. He was able to see, if one did X, then the result will be Y. His life experience and his approach to life (senses open to take in the objective truth of the surroundings) meant that he was able to provide incredible advice for avoiding obstacles, “rocks” as he calls them.

And don’t think he is saying that Females are obstacles to be avoided. Read the book, I would be very surprised to find out if you disagree with what he says.

Some areas have been proven different by scientific discovery after Baden Powell’s time, but his knowledge, logic and deduction are outstanding if one considers the context of his time.

Obviously some of the things in the book I disagree with, but that’s mainly down to two things; I believe in the Truth of the Catholic Faith (there is no other way to God), and I also believe very strongly (if you hadn’t guessed already), that Christ was very serious when He commanded us to love friends and enemies, that violence is an abomination and completely forbidden to the follower of Christ.

My strong conviction to Gospel non-violence (which I always need to add, is not doing nothing in the face of evil, rather actively confronting evil with the Power of Good – (non-violently!)), jars in the face of some aspects of Baden Powell’s Scouting. But that aside, it is an immensely enjoyable book.

Of course, like Scouting for Boys, Rovering is designed for the male audience. Baden Powell came from a time, where people understood, the fundamental difference of gender. That it was God-given and for a Divinely-mandated Purpose (cf Matthew 19). Baden Powell, extrapolated the male role (with his philosophical and theological understanding) out into the world, to the service of the state.

It’s a ripping read, and really hard to get hold of. I managed to get my hands on a copy many moons ago, and you still can if you search for a second-hand copy of Rovering to Success through book stores on line. That or look up the scanned copy of Rovering to Success by Baden Powell available on line.


Catholic Scouting – But why? III
Catholic Scouting – but why? Part II
Catholic Scouting – but why?
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101 – Part III
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101 – part II
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101
A Scout Serves II
A Scout Serves
Catholic Scouts and vain-glory
A Scout seeks Truth
Chivalry and scouting morals II
Chivalry and scouting morals

The subject of Entertainment: Violent entertainment lawful or not?

My friend Alypius had come to Rome before me with the intent of learning law, and was swept away by a violent and extraordinary passion for gladiatorial shows.

Until then he detested and avoided such entertainment, but one day some of his friends and schoolmates ran into him on their way back from lunch, and although he resisted and spoke strongly against joining them, they dragged him off with friendly force into the amphitheater on a day that featured cruel and mortal combat.

“Maybe you can drag my body into the stadium,” Alypius said, “but can you force my mind and eyes to attend such entertainment? I will be present, and yet absent, and so defeat both you and the games.” When his friends heard this, they pulled him along with no less enthusiasm, perhaps eager to find out if he was able to make good on his boast.

By the time they were able to find seats, the crowd was in a state of brutal rapture. Alypius shut tight the doors of his eyes, forbidding his mind from paying attention to such evils.

If only he could have sealed his ears! For when, in response to some knock-down in the arena, the giant roar of the entire crowd pounded on him, Alypius, overcome by curiosity but still confident that he could condemn and be the master of whatever he looked on, opened his eyes.

Struck with a wound more deadly for is soul than for the body of the man who was the object of his sight, he fell, and fell more pitifully than that man whose all occasioned the uproar. 

The source of the fall which entered through his ears, and unlocked his eyes, to make way for he striking and beating down of a soul, bold rather than resolute, and the weaker, in that it had presumed on itself, which ought to have relied on Thee Lord.

 For as soon as he saw the blood, he drank up the savagery, and did not then look away, but stared and swallowed the fury without knowing that he drank, thrilled by the crime of the combat and intoxicated by the bloodlust.

No longer was he the person who had entered, but one of the crowd he had joined; he was now the true companion of those who had led him in.

St. AugustineConfessions 6.8
[circa AD308]

There was a reason why antiquity was studied. It served as a microcosm of society, an era which could be studied and learnt from. In AD308 (1705 years ago) it was recorded what effect just spectating violence would have on the psyche and the soul. St Augustine, along with the entire Church from the time of Christ until the late 300’s, professed that

violence, even just spectating violence was a great and very grave evil. The Christian was taught to pursue the course of virtue which meant abstaining from all violence, even spectating violence.

Now I need to be the first to say, that while I believe this Truth (that Violence, even spectating violence, is a grave evil, and is to be avoided if one wishes to follow the Way of Christianity), I must confess my great struggle to surrender addiction to violence in media (films, games, interests). I continue to ask God for the willingness and Grace to turn away from my selfishness, towards His bounty. Even if my worldliness screams against it…

Violence, as St Augustine points out, wounds the soul and the psyche, it is inherently addictive. And St Augustine here is not talking about going into the arena and chopping somebody up. St Augustine is simply talking about watching it.

If passive spectating of violence is a grave evil, then what is active simulation?

Christian Martyrs during the first centuries after Christ

Catholic Scout comments: Pope Francis homiletics

Firstly, as a little disclaimer, The Supreme Pontiff is an office, Jorge Bergoglio is a human being (like you or me) who currently occupies that office. I am sceptical of the man, Jorge Bergoglio, but am faithful to the office of The Supreme Pontiff that he currently occupies. Please read my previous posts regarding this position:
Sedevacantism? Sedevacantists? No, not a great idea.
Habemus Papam – Pope Francis – Gift of the Holy Ghost?
Indefectibility of the Church

So on to the content of the article:

Our Lord and Saviour said “That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Mt 16:18-19

We see here that Our Lord specifically gives Peter the power to bind and loose. In the last article Pope Francis in a very verbose way said “don’t do violence”.

But I may ask, Did our Lord “advise” us not to do violence? Advising this or that, gives to me at least, the impression that there is an option.

The Pope is the supreme authority in the Catholic Church, he has the authority to order. Orders have a clarity about them, they have a purpose. Advice may be good, but it is not a binding order.

Cut the verbose, and crank out the Petrine authority. If violence and homicide is wrong, then condemn it and denounce any Catholic, promoting or engaging in it, as anathema. The wording could be like this:

“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that violence and homicide towards the human being, in utero or post utero, is condemned and strictly forbidden for all time, and in all cases. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare wilfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith.”

Job done. People won’t like it, there will be a hell of a hoo-har. But think about it, just how much easier is it to follow a clear, precise directive, which is very black or white. When you move past the shock of the statement, there is a “oh okay” moment and we get on with it.

Take it further, if the Pope stood up and did proclaim that, 1/3 of the worlds population would be under the binding law to put up their weapons and ceasefire, that or renounce their Faith. Then we’d see who was really Catholic. Think of all the Catholic politicians, Catholic military men (and sadly women), Catholic educators, Catholic entertainers, who would have to do a complete about face.

The problem is while Pope Francis says “Peace, peace” in mind-numbingly-long homiletics. The world turns around and (if it even managed to get to the end of the homily) says “Francis, you are a hypocrite”, pointing to Just War Theory and millennia of violent Catholic Christianity. And to be fair, they have a point. Well, dear Holy Father, with all respect, let’s cut the legs from beneath them, in one fell swoop.

As someone pointed out, the Church’s seemingly schizophrenic historical teaching on violence is the predominant reason why the Church has not had the impact on Pro Life issues that it should have. Why should the Pro-Death’er not kill the human in utero, if “Pro-Life” Catholics can kill them post utero? “Just what’s the difference?” They will say. Tough, not very palatable, plenty of defensive rhetoric can be given to it (helpless, vulnerable, no ability to reason), but, fundamentally, this is an unassailable position for the Pro-Death’ers. Now imagine a Catholic Church which condemned all violence, in utero and post utero. The Pro-Death’ers would have nothing to stand on.

Plus then think of the Grace too. Wow. Super-abundance of Grace. So, Jorge…

Stop the verbal diarrhoea. Cut to the chase. Nail your colours to the mast.

Enact Petrine Authority.

Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis. Vigil of Prayer and Fasting.

“And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:12, 18, 21, 25). The biblical account of the beginning of the history of the world and of humanity speaks to us of a God who looks at creation, in a sense contemplating it, and declares: “It is good”. This allows us to enter into God’s heart and, precisely from within him, to receive his message. We can ask ourselves: what does this message mean? What does it say to me, to you, to all of us?

1. It says to us simply that this, our world, in the heart and mind of God, is the “house of harmony and peace”, and that it is the space in which everyone is able to find their proper place and feel “at home”, because it is “good”. All of creation forms a harmonious and good unity, but above all humanity, made in the image and likeness of God, is one family, in which relationships are marked by a true fraternity not only in words: the other person is a brother or sister to love, and our relationship with God, who is love, fidelity and goodness, mirrors every human relationship and brings harmony to the whole of creation. God’s world is a world where everyone feels responsible for the other, for the good of the other. This evening, in reflection, fasting and prayer, each of us deep down should ask ourselves: Is this really the world that I desire? Is this really the world that we all carry in our hearts? Is the world that we want really a world of harmony and peace, in ourselves, in our relations with others, in families, in cities, in and between nations? And does not true freedom mean choosing ways in this world that lead to the good of all and are guided by love?

2. But then we wonder: Is this the world in which we are living? Creation retains its beauty which fills us with awe and it remains a good work. But there is also “violence, division, disagreement, war”. This occurs when man, the summit of creation, stops contemplating beauty and goodness, and withdraws into his own selfishness.

When man thinks only of himself, of his own interests and places himself in the centre, when he permits himself to be captivated by the idols of dominion and power, when he puts himself in God’s place, then all relationships are broken and everything is ruined; then the door opens to violence, indifference, and conflict. This is precisely what the passage in the Book of Genesis seeks to teach us in the story of the Fall: man enters into conflict with himself, he realizes that he is naked and he hides himself because he is afraid (cf. Gen 3: 10), he is afraid of God’s glance; he accuses the woman, she who is flesh of his flesh (cf. v. 12); he breaks harmony with creation, he begins to raise his hand against his brother to kill him. Can we say that from harmony he passes to “disharmony”? No, there is no such thing as “disharmony”; there is either harmony or we fall into chaos, where there is violence, argument, conflict, fear ….

It is exactly in this chaos that God asks man’s conscience: “Where is Abel your brother?” and Cain responds: “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen 4:9). We too are asked this question, it would be good for us to ask ourselves as well: Am I really my brother’s keeper? Yes, you are your brother’s keeper! To be human means to care for one another! But when harmony is broken, a metamorphosis occurs: the brother who is to be cared for and loved becomes an adversary to fight, to kill. What violence occurs at that moment, how many conflicts, how many wars have marked our history! We need only look at the suffering of so many brothers and sisters. This is not a question of coincidence, but the truth: we bring about the rebirth of Cain in every act of violence and in every war. All of us! And even today we continue this history of conflict between brothers, even today we raise our hands against our brother. Even today, we let ourselves be guided by idols, by selfishness, by our own interests, and this attitude persists. We have perfected our weapons, our conscience has fallen asleep, and we have sharpened our ideas to justify ourselves. As if it were normal, we continue to sow destruction, pain, death! Violence and war lead only to death, they speak of death! Violence and war are the language of death!

3. At this point I ask myself: Is it possible to change direction? Can we get out of this spiral of sorrow and death? Can we learn once again to walk and live in the ways of peace? Invoking the help of God, under the maternal gaze of the Salus Populi Romani, Queen of Peace, I say: Yes, it is possible for everyone! From every corner of the world tonight, I would like to hear us cry out: Yes, it is possible for everyone! Or even better, I would like for each one of us, from the least to the greatest, including those called to govern nations, to respond: Yes, we want it!

My Christian faith urges me to look to the Cross. How I wish that all men and women of good will would look to the Cross if only for a moment! There, we can see God’s reply: violence is not answered with violence, death is not answered with the language of death. In the silence of the Cross, the uproar of weapons ceases and the language of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, and peace is spoken.

This evening, I ask the Lord that we Christians, and our brothers and sisters of other religions, and every man and woman of good will, cry out forcefully: violence and war are never the way to peace!

Let everyone be moved to look into the depths of his or her conscience and listen to that word which says: Leave behind the self-interest that hardens your heart, overcome the indifference that makes your heart insensitive towards others, conquer your deadly reasoning, and open yourself to dialogue and reconciliation.

Look upon your brother’s sorrow and do not add to it, stay your hand, rebuild the harmony that has been shattered; and all this achieved not by conflict but by encounter! May the noise of weapons cease!

War always marks the failure of peace, it is always a defeat for humanity. Let the words of Pope Paul VI resound again: “No more one against the other, no more, never! … war never again, never again war!” (Address to the United Nations, 1965). “Peace expresses itself only in peace, a peace which is not separate from the demands of justice but which is fostered by personal sacrifice, clemency, mercy and love” (World Day of Peace Message, 1975).

Forgiveness, dialogue, reconciliation – these are the words of peace, in beloved Syria, in the Middle East, in all the world! Let us pray for reconciliation and peace, let us work for reconciliation and peace, and let us all become, in every place, men and women of reconciliation and peace!

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website