A Global Catholic group is calling on the Polish Bishops to use “every means available” to them to “protect the dignity” of LGBTIQ+ people.

– “LGBTIQ people across Poland fear their health and security”

The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), a group which in its own words works for the “pastoral care, justice, inclusion, dignity, and equality for LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer) people and their families in the Roman Catholic Church and society”, wrote a letter August 23 to each bishop in Poland.

That was to express its “deep concern” about the situation for LGBTIQ+ people in the country, in a climate of increasing hostility both from the government and the Church.

“LGBTIQ people across Poland, justifiably, fear their health, freedom from violence, economic security, and ability to be contributing members of society. Some also feel alienated, or even further marginalized, by priests and other church officials who denounce them simply because of their identities”, lamented the co-chairs of the GNRC, Ruby Almeida and Christopher Vella.

– Bishops’ backing of ‘conversion therapy’ “a great source of sadness”, “very damaging”

The GNRC letter to the Polish prelates came before the Polish Bishops’ Conference released a document that encouraged LGBTIQ+ people to undergo medically-discredited ‘conversion therapy’ to ‘return’ them to heterosexuality.

The Polish Bishops’ text also called for Church and State resources to be used in establishing conversion therapy clinics, and affirmed that the Church’s condemnation of the immorality of homosexual acts is infallible – an assertion that is theologically problematic at best.

Though the Polish Bishops later backed away from their endorsement of conversion therapy for all – saying instead that they supported voluntary treatment of that kind – the GNRC co-chairs nonetheless later published an addendum to their original letter in which they lamented the prelates’ document as “a great source of sadness… which has caused great worry and anxiety in our communities”.

The new text on sexuality of the Polish Bishops’ Conference is “very damaging” and “contrary to the Church teachings on treating all people, especially LGBTIQ people, with respect, dignity and compassion”, the GNRC denounced.

– A reminder of the Catechism: “Everyone should look upon his neighbor as ‘another self'”

In their letter, the GNRC co-chairs reminded the Polish Bishops that the Catechism (1931) teaches that “respect for the human person proceeds by way of respect for the principle that ‘everyone should look upon his neighbor (without any exception) as ‘another self,’ above all bearing in mind his life and the means necessary for living it with dignity'”.

“We would hope that as our shepherds and pastors you would use every means available to you to protect the dignity and human rights of every person entrusted to your care, including those who are LGBTIQ and their families”, Almeida and Vella wrote.

They added that in the climate of “threats and vulnerability” that Polish LGBTIQ+ people are facing “this community is in need of special attention, support, and advocacy from the leaders of our church”.

Denouncing that as a result of governmental pressure “Polish LGBTIQ people are among the most vulnerable in the world”, the GNRC co-chairs urged the Polish Bishops “to make protection of the human rights, and appropriate pastoral care of LGBTIQ people and families, a priority”.

“We pray for justice, peace, and the opportunity for every individual to live their individuality in a way that reflects Divine love in this world. We pray for your ministry, your service, and your leadership, and for the ways you work to bring the reign of God to fulfilment”, Almedia and Vella concluded their letter to the Polish Bishops.

More on Novena on the situation of LGBTIQ+ people in Poland:

Criticism rains down on Polish Bishops for affirming Church doctrine on homosexuality infallible, supporting ‘conversion therapy’

Polish gay couple pleads with Pope to “take action” on homophobic bishops as prelates endorse ‘conversion therapy’

Warsaw Jews stand up for LGBT people against “hostility and hatred” of government, Church

LGBT rights campaigners protest against homophobic Polish archbishop, call for his resignation

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.