Catholic-sponsored Scouting organizations in the Albany Diocese seem unaffected by the Boy Scouts of America's recent policy welcoming gay Scouts.

Diocesan leaders say they are following the example of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which responded to the news in May with neutrality, explaining that despite some concerns, the policy is not inconsistent with Church teachings.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that people with homosexual tendencies "must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." At the same time, Church teachings prohibit sexual activity of any kind outside of marriage.

The Boy Scouts of America did not change its policy that homosexual adults may not serve as Scout leaders.

Each diocesan bishop can decide whether to accept the Scouts' new policy; the Albany Scouting committee consulted Bishop Howard J. Hubbard.

"He is going along with the bishops" and the national committee, said Deacon Peter Quinn, the diocesan chaplain of Scouting, who serves at Immaculate Conception parish in New Lebanon.

"It's in our policy that we don't discriminate against persons of different sexuality," Deacon Quinn continued. "As long as the Scout does not have his own personal agenda, [there's] no problem. We don't want to make this the main issue in Scouting. We want them to respect God, enjoy the great outdoors and get to be a kid."

Bishops and Scout leaders nationwide have been asked to review Church teachings so they understand the resolution before it goes into effect in January.

Rev. Kenneth Doyle, diocesan chancellor for public information, noted the BSA had stated that "any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youths of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting."

Deacon Quinn suspects local policies won't change, but he said there's been some concern on the national level about outside groups possibly trying to promote homosexuality within Scouting. "It's going to be a difficult year. We have to see how it goes."

Paul Bargher, committee chair for Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 88 at Sacred Heart parish in Sidney, said he hasn't "heard any opposition at all" from the parish or the diocesan committee on Scouting, for which he also serves as chair.

One individual asked him if gays would be allowed into the annual diocesan retreat, where religious awards are distributed to Scouts, he said, but "if there is [other resistance], I don't know if we'd know about it."

Mr. Bargher admitted the policy "wouldn't have been anything that I would have voted for. [But] I'll respect that. I don't feel that it really goes against Church teaching, so it's something I can live with."

Parishioners at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar have similarly stayed quiet on the issue, according to Kevin Murray, committee chair of the parish-sponsored Troop 71. But he does worry about reports of religious organizations withdrawing sponsorship in other parts of the country - as well as repercussions for national fundraising, which was already in flux after a 2000 Supreme Court decision upheld the Boy Scouts' constitutional right to exclude gay members.

"There is, to some extent, a ripple effect on any Scouting unit," Mr. Murray said.

Parents and committee members of Troop and Pack 4005 at St. Mary's Church in Galway, a mission of St. Mary's parish in Ballston Spa, have not had any discussions related to the news.

"Everybody has their own opinion," said Margaret Griffin, committee chair. She worries more about protecting Scouts from pedophiles than whether a Scout might be gay.

Mrs. Griffin said policies will have to be reviewed on an as-needed basis. If a Scout divulges he's gay, for instance, he might be assigned his own camping tent.

"It's a hard issue," she said. "The safety of the kids is number one."

Ron Derway is a member of the diocesan committee on Scouting and the chair of the Catholic committee of the Scouting district covering Warren, Washington and Southern Essex counties. He said the issue comes down to "the red states and the blue states.

"We're pretty lenient around here," Mr. Derway said. He and many colleagues have even expressed disappointment that the resolution "discriminated against adult [gay] leaders. The day [Scouts] turn 18, they're no good anymore," he said.

"We don't ask what [our leaders'] choices in life are," Mr. Derway said. "If they act out, then they're gone, just like if they do drugs. We're tolerant, but not to the point of abuse. If you cross that line, you've got to take action.

"We're there for the Scouts," he continued. "We're there for the kids. And that's what you have to keep in mind."