The recent decision to allow openly gay youth into the Boy Scouts has not had an adverse impact on local Catholic scouting as yet, Deacon Richard Grant, scout chaplain, said.

“It’s been business as usual,” he said. People have been calling to ask questions, and some are very concerned, but Deacon Grant said he was “not alarmed by the decision.” However, he added, it is too early to evaluate what will happen in the near future.

Deacon Grant, chaplain for the approximately 100 troops in the diocese, said he sent all the priests and deacons in the diocese copies of letters from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting with its reaction right after the decision was made by the Boy Scouts of America.

The letter states, “The Catholic Church teaches that people who experience a homosexual inclination or a same sex attraction are to be treated with respect recognizing the dignity of all persons.

“The church’s teaching is clear

that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is immoral. Individuals who are open and avowed homosexuals promoting and engaging in homosexual conduct are not living lives consistent with Catholic teaching,” stated the letter from National Chair Ed Martin and National Chaplain Father Michael Hanifin.

Deacon Grant said some local protestant scout leaders indicated they may drop their programs or not renew their Boy Scout charters because of the decision, a choice he called initially a “knee-jerk reaction.” But he added Catholic scouting, which is always welcoming, would allow those boys into its troops if the need does arise.

“As far as we are concerned, the Diocese of Baton Rouge follows the guidelines and norms of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and we will continue to do what is in the best interest of our youth,” Deacon Grant said.

In his letter to “fellow scouters,” Martin said “I encourage you to seek understanding of the (scout) resolution, the Church’s teaching on the subject and to pray for wisdom. Change is hard, especially when we don’t understand why it’s occurring, what it means and when we are not part of the process. NCCS will do its best to respond to your questions and concerns. We will pray for wisdom ourselves. We ask that Catholic Scouters and chartered organization heads not rush to judgment as the policy does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2014.

He said NCCS will use a task force to develop and execute a plan for insuring a consistent message is delivered to Catholics and to prepare guidelines to assist diocesan committees in understanding the issues associated with the change.

“My hope is that we will deal with the challenge in the spirit of Christian charity toward all and the knowledge the Holy Spirit will guide us with clarity,” Martin said.