The Catholic Church in Scotland has received criticism after they were found to be promoting groups that practice conversion therapy on LGBT+ people. Bishop John Keenan is the head of the Diocese of Paisley which shares links to Courage, an international Apostolate which encourages LGBT+ people to “live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality”.
The Church’s website contains a pamphlet titled ‘Mom, Dad, I’m Gay. How Should A Catholic Parent Respond?’. The pamphlet maintains that homosexuality is a choice, and encourages parents to pray for their children if they come out to them.
Additionally, the pamphlet encourages parents to take LGBT+ children to seek the help of a Catholic therapist. A chapter of the pamphlet entitled “Don’t Assume They Want To Change” contains the following guidance:
“[Other therapists] that may be caught up in the political agenda of the gay rights movement may exert pressure in swaying your child into their politically correct views. A Catholic therapist is your best option, as you know up front what their views are on this subject and have a better chance that they will be respectful of your beliefs and your role as a parent.”
The pamphlet continues:
“Pray and seek help from a therapist or coach to tailor your strategy to walk the fine line between condoning and condemning.”
Despite hosting the organisation’s material on their website, the Catholic Church in Scotland has maintained that they are not endorsing Courage’s teachings. In a statement, the Church said:
“The diocese of Paisley carries links to Courage, which may signpost other links or resources. This does not represent an endorsement or recommendation.”
The practice of gay conversion therapy has been completely disavowed by a number of medical organisations, including the NHS, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The three medical bodies released a statement in 2014, which labelled the practice as “potentially harmful” and “unethical”.
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