Catholic bishops of Washington state have stated there will be no changes to church teaching in response to recent membership policy changes by the Boy Scouts of America.
National Scout leadership voted last month to admit openly gay Scouts as members.
“The Catholic Church teaches that all people are to be treated with dignity and respect,” according to the statement sent to all Washington Catholic parishes and posted on dioceses’ websites. The bishops affirmed their support of the mission of the Boy Scouts to guide young people in making good life decisions and participate in their churches and community.
The statement comes after a meeting last Wednesday to discuss the new scouting policy attended by Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, Spokane Diocese Bishop Blase Cupich, Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson and Seattle Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo.
The bishops said that Scouting’s decision to allow gay young people to participate “does not affect the teachings of the Catholic Church or the manner in which the Catholic parishes in Washington state conduct the scouting programs under their sponsorship.”
Last month one local Catholic parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton, decided to end sponsorship of a Boy Scout troop because the pastor, Father Derek Lappe, felt the new policy encourages young men to come out or identify as gay.
Current Catholic Church policy allows local parishes and pastors to charter Boy Scout troops or Cub Scout packs at their own discretion.
“They’re also not required to sponsor any organization if they choose,” Seattle Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni said.