“An attack on a pastor who conducts catechesis in accordance with Church teachings is unacceptable,” says Poland’s Deputy Climate Minister Edward Siarka, defending a priest who told students that “homosexuality is a disease” that can be “treated with electric shocks” or “removal of ovaries or clitoris.”
Homosexuality is a “mental disorder” caused by “hormonal imbalances during pregnancy,” “failed relationships with women,” or living in a “hermetic male environment,” among other things. To “treat homosexuality,” electric shocks, ovaries or clitoris excision, and other methods can be used. This is the “knowledge” that a priest from Limanowa, a small town in southern Poland, shared with his students during online religion classes. On the last day of April, a little-known Silesia-based Polish blogger named Klaudia Szubert leaked the presentation the priest had prepared and then sent to the children. The case has now received extensive coverage in Polish media.
Journalists from Poland’s main opposition newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, contacted Limanowa’s Vladislav Orkan High School, where the priest in question teaches. “The issue has been brought to the attention of the school board. Please contact them about this,” was the response. The school board has yet to react.
In turn, the >Wirtualna Polska portal obtained the catechist’s explanations, which he was required to present to the curia in Tarnów after his teachings became a source of public outrage.
“My intention was not to hurt or offend anyone, but to present the Church’s teaching. People who attend religion classes do so voluntarily, based on their faith, beliefs, and worldview, and thus have a right to know the Church’s teaching.” He contended. And, of course, he apologizes to everyone who was offended.
The most intriguing aspect of the situation is that Edward Siarka, an MP from the ruling coalition led by the Catholic-fundamentalist party Law and Justice and Secretary of State at the Ministry of Climate, has defended the priest. He sent a personal letterto Limanowa.in, the portal that broke the story about the fundamentalist excesses at Orkan High School, accusing the journalists of defaming the priest.
“In response to your local news portal’s article Religion in high school: homosexuality is a disease, treatment — electric shocks, I would like to urge your editors to provide accurate and objective information.
An attack on a pastor who teaches in accordance with Church teachings is unacceptably harsh. It is yet another attempt to offend religious sensibilities and an assault on Christian values. The article makes false accusations against the priest, and deliberate defamation is a crime. As an MP and minister from the Nowy Sącz-Podhale region, I implore you to clear the priest’s name. There is no tolerance for slander and insults directed at Catholic Church clergy.”
On the same day, he also tweeted the following: “Another attack by leftist circles on pastors who teach the Church’s teachings. Defending Christian values runs counter to gender ideology. The Church cannot give in to the anti-clerical lobby. It must adhere to the preached Gospel.”
Kolejny atak środowisk lewicowych na duszpasterzy, którzy nauczają zgodnie z nauką Kościoła.
Obrona wartości chrześcijańskich kłóci się z ideologią gender.
Kościół nie może ulegać lobby środowisk antyklerykalnych. Musi być wierny głoszonej Ewangelii.https://t.co/97kDN11f2t
— Edward Siarka (@ESiarka) April 30, 2021
Limanowa.in responded by asking the minister which parts of the text he believes are untrustworthy and where he believes the alleged “unjust accusations against the priest” can be found.
The content of the priest’s presentation to his students is obviously scandalous and contradictory to scientific knowledge. Why would a high-ranking government official and ruling coalition politician defend such content?
According to the opposition portal OKO.press, its editors have asked the Climate Ministry’s press office whether the opinion expressed by Minister Siarka is popular among the institution’s leadership and whether this is the ministry’s official position. They’ve also asked the Ministry of Education and Science if they think such “knowledge” should be taught in religion classes.
Let us recall that the WHO removed homosexuality from its list of diseases and disorders in 1990. So there are no moral or medical reasons to “cure” it. In most countries, “treatment” with methods such as electroshock or body mutilation would be considered a crime. And quite rightly so.
Many EU countries have also outlawed so-called conversion therapy. It is legal in Poland, but the Polish Sexological Society described it as “incompatible with contemporary knowledge of human sexuality” and warned that it could cause “serious adverse psychological effects” in those who are subjected to it in 2016. The UN recommended that Poland implement such a ban in 2018.
According to Radio Kraków, the Catechetical Department of the Tarnów Diocesan Curia evaluated the priest’s presentation and issued the following statement.
“The presentation was devoted to the sixth and ninth commandments of the Decalogue and, for the most part, was based on Catholic Church teaching and the Holy Scriptures, as recognized by the committee of the Catechetical Department of the Diocesan Curia in Tarnów. This does not apply to the homosexuality content, which was presented as a disease caused by hormones.”
“In the letter received from the curia’s spokesman, we read that although these topics appear in public, this does not imply that they express the teaching of the Catholic Church,” Radio Kraków reported.
The Church’s official position on homosexuality is somewhat contradictory. A “homosexual act” (sexual intercourse between people of the same sex) is a serious violation of the sixth commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.” And so is any sexual behavior outside of marriage, as well as inside marriage when it does not clearly serve procreation. Regardless of how ridiculous such an approach is, it means that homosexuals should not be excluded from the community or discriminated against. They, like every other Christian, have the option of “gradually and decisively” approaching “Christian perfection.”
The Church, on the other hand, does not appear to take a strong stance on the issue of “curing” homosexuality. The Polish Episcopate issued a document in 2020 that can be interpreted as permission, if not encouragement, for such practices.
“In light of the challenges created by gender ideology and the LGBT+ movements, and particularly in view of the difficulties, sufferings, and spiritual rifts experienced by these persons,” the document states, “it is necessary to establish counseling centers (also with the assistance of the Church, or at Church structures) to assist persons who wish to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation.”
Of course, this is just one of many examples of the Polish Catholic Church’s barbaric “teachings.” It is worth noting that such incidents would not have occurred on such a large scale and in public schools if the first “democratic” Polish government formed after 1989 had not been tied at the hip with the bishops. After the Round Table talks, when one of the “legendary opposition leaders,” Tadeusz Mazowiecki, was prime minister. Religion classes were introduced into the public school system via the back door, on short notice, and in violation of the constitution.
To cut a long story short, the episcopate publicly demanded, without prior consultation with Prime Minister Mazowiecki, the introduction of religion classes in schools in 1989, and they did so in a hysterical and neurotic manner. Fearing that he would lose the upcoming presidential election (which he had little chance of winning, by the way), Mazowiecki instituted religion in schools through a special resolution from the Minister of Education that went into effect on August 3, 1990. It was a clear violation of the constitution because such major moves requiring educational facilities to take specific actions could only be imposed by a proper law that would have gone through the entire legislative process.
Finally, the same people who clapped when religion classes were forced on Polish students had no problem with this obviously hooligan act of destroying the educational system and had no problem with violating the constitution. They now present themselves as the most zealous defenders of the Polish constitution against the manipulations of Law and Justice. This is the credibility of the so-called “democratic opposition” in Poland. This is their legacy as well.
Bulgarian and Polish activist, journalist, editor, publisher and translator. In the late `90 active in the Polish left and later in the labor movement, particularly the biggest Polish labor confederation — The All-Poland Trade Union Alliance. Until 2012 editor-in-chief of its weekly magazine. Contributor at Baricada.org and Strajk.eu, Polish correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio.
Currently working as an editor and journalist for the Polish labor portal Strike and as a correspondent to the Bulgarian National Radio in Poland.