Criticism is raining down on the Polish Bishops after they affirmed that Church doctrine on homosexuality is infallible and supported gay ‘conversion therapy’.
– Priest: Bishops “treating the Bible as a psychology textbook and a constitution for all Poles, and this cannot be done”
On August 28 the Polish Bishops released a 27-page document entitled “Position of the Polish Bishops’ Conference on LGBT+ Issues” that, among other things, affirms that Catholic teaching on the “moral evil of homosexual behaviour… is based on the Word of God, on the living Apostolic Tradition and on the natural law”, and as such “is universal, unchanging in time and space, and is infallible”.
In their text, the Polish prelates also declared that it is “necessary to create clinics (including with the assistance of the Church) to help people who want to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation”.
The Polish Bishops admitted that their support for the gay ‘conversion therapy’ almost unanimously condemned by the medical profession “stands in clear contradiction to positions regarded as scientific, as well as to so-called ‘political correctness'”.
However, they nonetheless insisted that such treatments to ‘correct’ non-heterosexual affective orientations are needed to cure “wounds on various levels” of the personalities of LGBT+ people and to help them “regain a healthy identity and spiritual harmony”.
After an outcry from the LGBT+ community and beyond, the Bishops tried to walk back somewhat their controversial call for ‘conversion therapy’ clinics, saying through a statement from the chairman of their bioethics committee – Auxiliary Bishop Józef Wróbel of the Lublin archdiocese – that it was a “misconception” to affirm that the prelates were trying to coerce LGBT+ people into treatment.
The offer of help with ‘conversion’ to heterosexuality was there for those “who seek such help and ask for it, because they experience suffering because of their inclinations”, Wróbel explained.
But the Polish Bishops’ clarification of their LGBT+ text came after sharp criticisms had already come from wide sectors of the Church and society, including from a Polish priest, academic pscyhologist and deputy rector of the Jesuit University in Krakow.
The Polish Bishops are “treating the Bible as a psychology textbook and a constitution for all Poles, and this cannot be done”, Father Jacek Prusak denounced to TVN24.
– “Listening to Polish clergy, one gets the impression that Jesus did not come to bring the Good News but to regulate the sexual life of his followers”
Further criticism of the Polish Bishops over their stance on LGBT+ issues came from theologian Stanislaw Obirek and lawyer Artur Nowak, who in an article in the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper lamented that “listening to Polish clergy, one gets the impression that Jesus did not come to earth to bring the Good News, but to regulate the sexual life of his followers in detail”.
Denouncing that the Bishops “fail to understand that the concept of a democratic rule of law which they hypocritically invoke cannot be realised in a situation where the civil rights of sexual minorities are to be eliminated for religious reasons”, Obirek and Nowak accused the prelates of promoting a “discrimination, marginalisation and, in extreme cases, persecution” of the LGBT+ community comparable to that driven by fundamentalist Islam, Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism.
The Polish Bishops’ latest broadside against the LGBT+ community comes in a context not only of the state-sponsored anti-LGBT campaign that has seen some Polish towns declared “LGBT-Free Zones” or homosexuality declared a threat to Polish values, but also of a “systematic decline” in Catholic practice in the country, in the words of Father Marian Zając, from the integral catechetics department of the Catholic University of Lublin.
“The percentage of deeply religious people is falling”, Zając warned in comments reported by KAI, adding that Poland is “number one in the world when it comes to the gap between the faith of parents and that of children”.