A Polish gay couple pleaded with the Pope to “take action” on the homophobic bishops of their country before the prelates there endorsed so-called gay ‘conversion therapy’.
– “The rainbow does not offend”
“The Polish bishops call us pedophiles, they say that we are a disease and even that the COVID-19 is a global punishment for LGBT+ sins”, Jakub Kwiecinski and Dawid Mycek denounced to Gay Nation.
Kwiecinski and Mycek travelled to the Vatican August 16 to unfurl a rainbow flag during Pope Francis’ Angelus address that day.
Despite being in the heart of the Church – an institution sadly not known for its openness to LGBT+ people – Kwiecinski and Mycek’s trip to Rome was a happy experience for the pair.
“We were amazed how many Catholics from different countries approached us with words of support”, the couple wrote on Instagram.
“Nobody felt offended by the rainbow, the police did not chase us out, and when we were alone in the square an hour longer, one of the priests came to us, offered water and listened to what we had to say. Because the rainbow does not offend”.
– “What the Polish Church is doing is contrary to the teaching of Pope Francis”
Kwiecinski and Mycek’s experience in St. Peter’s Square couldn’t have been more different from what they’re facing in their native Poland, where more and more LGBT+ people are being forced to flee what media have called a “homophobia promoted by the highest levels of government”.
A key pillar of support for that State-sponsored homophobia is Poland’s Catholic Church. And that’s why Kwiecinski and Mycek are pleading with the Pope to clean house in the country’s episcopate.
“We realised that what the Polish Church is doing in our country is contrary to the teaching of Pope Francis”, Kwiecinski and Mycek told Gay Nation.
“We decided to go and draw [the Pope’s] attention to the fact that the Polish bishops are fueling hatred towards us and we really hope that he will take action.
“If we were the bosses of a company, we would react [if] our employee did something against our order. This is exactly what we expect from the Pope. Especially since the government in place regularly justifies its conservative policy by religion”.
Though Pope Francis has not overturned traditional Catholic teaching on homosexuality, he has on occasions signalled a new openness on the issue: including in 2018, when he told a gay Chilean survivor of clergy sex abuse: “that you are gay does not matter. God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are”.
– Polish Bishops reiterate “clear opposition to gender ideologies”
Despite Pope Francis’ tact and understanding when talking about and dealing with LGBT+ people, the Polish Bishops have repeatedly affirmed their opposition to the recognition of same-sex marriage and family rights.
The latest show of that homophobia came just this August 28, when the Bishops released a 27-page document affirming that although LGBT+ people deserve “respect”, that respect “does not mean [accepting] their views uncritically”.
“Any act of physical or verbal violence, any form of hooliganism and aggression against LGBT+ people is unacceptable”, the Bishops stated in their latest text on sexuality and affectivity.
They added that “the Church is not afraid, on the one hand, to proclaim the duty to respect the personal dignity of every human being, including LGBT+ people, and, on the other hand, for the same reasons, she must speak with reserve and, in particular cases, with clear opposition to gender ideologies and forms of activity of LGBT+ movements that ignore this truth about man and to their social projects and objectives”.
Perhaps the most controversial part of the Polish Bishops’ new document, however, was their endorsement of counselling centres “to help people wishing to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation”.
That was a reference to so-called gay ‘conversion therapy’, the practice by which thousands of gay people around the world are subjected each year to pseudo-scientific, pseudo-medical and pseudo-religious practices designed to ‘make them straight’.
Last November, Pope Francis met with prominent UK anti-conversion therapy campaginer Jayne Ozanne and showed his “concern” for her having fallen victim to the practice.
The next day the pontiff gave a major speech in which he likened homophobia to “Nazism”.