“Possible under two conditions”

Poland's bishops in favor of voluntary conversion of homosexuals © Manuel Lopez

The Catholic Church in Poland wants to promote so-called conversion treatments of homosexuals under certain conditions. "In rare cases, conversion is possible under two conditions," it said.

"The LGBT person must genuinely desire such a change, and he or she must not have had any sexual experiences of a homosexual nature before," said the president of the bishops' conference's bioethics expert group, Auxiliary Bishop Jozef Wrobel (Wednesday). "Such help is not possible if the person at the starting point takes the attitude that this inclination is natural, is wanted by the Creator and must be accepted."

Criticism of document of the Bishops' Conference

Previously, there had been criticism in Poland of a 27-page document on the "LGBT+ ie" adopted by the bishops' conference at its plenary session late last week. In it, they advocated the creation of church counseling centers "to help people who want to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation". So it was a matter of people who sought and asked for this help because they suffered through their inclinations and "alone are not able to cope with themselves," Wrobel said. He said it was a "misunderstanding" to interpret the bishops' document as wanting to force these people into therapy.

It is a matter of psychological and pastoral support, he clarified. The practice shows that one can overcome such "inclinations" or at least strengthen the persons mentally. People seeking help should not be abandoned. It is also "very important to strengthen the decision to live without marriage and in chastity, because heterosexual marriage for these people is usually doomed to failure," the Lublin auxiliary bishop said.

Respect personal dignity

In their position, the bishops had stressed the duty to respect the personal dignity of homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals. "Any act of physical or verbal violence, hooligan-like behavior or aggression against LGBT+ people is unacceptable," they wrote. At the same time, they maintained their rejection of such things as a "gender ideology" and the introduction of a "third gender".

In Germany, a far-reaching ban on so-called conversion treatments or "conversion attempts" of homosexuals came into effect in mid-June. Medical and other interventions aimed at purposefully altering or suppressing sexual orientation or self-perceived gender identity can be punishable by up to a year in prison. The ban applies generally to such "treatments" of minors. In the case of adults, they are prohibited if their consent to perform them is based on deception, error, coercion or threat.

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Christina Cherry
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