Polish bishops: Respect all people, but don’t accept LGBT+ views uncritically

CNA Staff, Aug 28, 2020 / 10:45 am (CNA).- Catholics have a duty to respect people who identify as LGBT+ but are not obliged to accept their views uncritically, Poland’s bishops said Friday.

The bishops made that comment in a 27-page document released Aug. 28, which condemned verbal and physical violence against people associated with the LGBT+ movement.

“The obligation to respect people connected with the LGBT+ movement does not mean to accept their views uncritically. On the contrary, it means analyzing them carefully and considering them in the light of the objective truth about human sexuality and the principles of the common good,” the bishops said. 

The text is the bishops’ contribution to a raging debate about LGBT+ rights in Poland. The issue featured prominently in the run-up to July’s presidential election, narrowly won by the incumbent Andrzej Duda. In June, Duda signed a “Family Charter” opposing same-sex marriage and adoption, and committing himself to the “protection of children from LGBT ideology.”

Following the election, activists draped rainbow flags on national monuments in the capital, Warsaw, including a historic statue of Christ. Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz lamented the “desecration” of the statue and urged protesters to respect religious sensibilities.

The bishops’ document, which took almost a year to produce, is divided into four chapters: the sexuality of man and woman according to the Christian vision of the person; LGBT+ movements in a democratic society; LGBT+ people in the Catholic Church; and the Church on the LGBT+ position on the sexual education of children and young people.

The text considers the LGBT+ movement in light of the sexual revolution. 

“The rejection of traditional morality has led to profound changes in the understanding of human sexuality,” it said. “A particular expression of these changes is the gender ideology and attitudes characteristic of LGBT+. They proclaim the right to self-determination of one’s gender without reference to objective criteria determined by one’s genome and anatomy and a radical separation between biological (sex) and cultural (gender) sex, the primacy of socio-cultural gender over biological gender and the pursuit of a society without gender differences.”

In the document, the bishops denounced all forms of violence against people identifying as LGBT.

They wrote that “any act of physical or verbal violence, any form of hooliganism and aggression against LGBT+ people is unacceptable.”

The bishops said that the rights of people who identify as gay, lesbian, or transgender should be seen alongside “the legitimate expectations of society as a whole that the rights of other members of the community, including in particular their religious feelings, the moral principles they recognise and the principles of public order, are also respected.”

They added: “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.”

The bishops argued that by denying the sexual complementarity of man and woman, activists implicitly undermined the parental vocation. 

“They also set themselves the goal of equating homosexual and heterosexual marriage by law. As a result, throughout this process, human sexuality is increasingly deprived of its personal meaning and value, as a special gift, a sacred gift, given to a woman and a man by the Creator himself,” they wrote.

The bishops said that the Church could not support a broadening of the definition of marriage and the family, the recognition of same-sex partnerships “including regulation of property, alimony, and inheritance,” same-sex adoption, or moves to permit people to determine their gender from the age of 16. 

Citing the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education’s 2019 document “Male and Female He Created Them,” they said: “Being aware of the radical nature of the postulated cultural transformation and the demands of a society ‘without gender differences,’ the LGBT+ movements propose to use the method of small steps to force a slow cultural and moral transformation by gradually familiarizing society with behaviors that until recently were considered unacceptable and morally reprehensible.” 

“Some social media support these projects by promoting gender ideology, promoting the alleged attractiveness of divorce, betrayal, sexual promiscuity, ridiculing fidelity, virginity, chastity and religion.”

In a move likely to spark controversy, the bishops also endorsed the creation of counseling centers, “to help people wishing to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation.” While the issue has not become prominent in Poland, opposition to so-called “conversion therapy” has become a major issue in the West, and many Catholic therapists have insisted they focus on helping clients to live the Church’s teaching regarding chastity, not to change their sexual orientation.

In addition, the bishops expressed their opposition to calls to begin sex education at pre-school age.

They said: “Responsible upbringing cannot be reconciled with providing children with materials that reveal human intimacy and teach them the pleasure of ‘manipulating’ their sexuality and introducing them to early sexual experiences.”

They also said that people who identify themselves as transgender have a right to belong to the Church and that they should not be denied baptism or other sacraments if they fulfilled the conditions for receiving them.

“However, in upholding the sanctity of the sacraments, the Church cannot accept false celebrations where their important or decent celebration or reception is related to or dependent on human sex. This applies especially to the sacrament of baptism, ordination and marriage. For their important exercise, it is the genetic gender that is decisive, not the subjective sexual self-determination of a person,” they wrote.

If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here for more information on donating to CWR. Click here to sign up for our newsletter.

1 Comment

  1. I fully support the Bishops in Poland for standing up to the Truth. We are all God’s children and God showed us His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Roman’s 5:8)..It is those who are focused on pleasing people and then push gender ideologies to young innocent pre- school children. I see all these kind of gender ideologies as diversions.The focus should be on the Kingdom of Heaven. Political arguments are rooted on life here on earth, which we all know comes to an end. As Christians, we should not waiver in our faith (Matthew 14:31, Mark 11:22-23). We should not create doubt and confusion on the most vulnerable, children in order to please other people (Genesis3: 1-4). I believe in the Word of God without questioning, like Christ’s Apostles (The Acts), because it is the truth.That is all that matters. Quarrels about the law and politics is a diversion to appease false teachings that are worthless(Titus 3:9). Jesus asks us, “how long should we continue to push for our vanities and persecute those who are trying to leads us to eternal life?”( Psalm 4:2), creating divisions, and yet Christ wants us to be united (John 17:21). Let us not be afraid to stand up for our Christian faith, for where there is fear there is no hope and no future. Christ is the way, the only way.The fear of others lays a snare, but one who trusts in the Lord is secure(Proverbs 29:25).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.