‘Gay cure’ courses: Catholic Church accused of breaking Spanish law

‘Gay cure’ courses: Catholic Church accused of breaking Spanish law April 12, 2019

SPAIN has tough anti-homophobia laws, and promoting or carrying out so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is banned by law in the region of Madrid. Punishments include fines of up to $50,000.

Image via YouTube

Well, it appears that the Catholic diocese of Alcala de Henares – headed by bishop Juan Antonio Reig Plá, above –  has been breaching that law, and now faces investigation by the regional government.

The move follows a recent report in El Diario that revealed that the diocese, on the outskirts of Madrid, has been running courses for people with a same-sex orientation since 2009, when Plá was appointed as bishop.

In a video posted in the original report by El Diario, a person guiding the therapy is heard telling an undercover journalist, posing as a gay man, that she knows that under the current law in Madrid, what she’s doing is “illegal” and could put her in prison.

‘Fake news’

The diocese expressed outrage over the report, and branded it as “fake news”. In a statement on its website it said that every person must be “respected and loved”, and that the diocese doesn’t say no to “welcoming and accompanying the people who freely ask [to be welcomed and accompanied].”

The statement closes with requests for prayers for “the freedom of the Church in Spain.”

In a more recent report, El Diario quoted Jesús López, spokesperson of the Forum “Cures Madrid y +”, as saying that Plá has:

An obsession with homosexuals and wants them to stop being homosexual.

The report also quoted Raúl Peña, spokesperson for CRISMHOM (Community of Christians and Christians of Madrid Homosexuals), as saying it was regrettable that faith-based “cures” had been carried on for years by the diocese, but that:

Thanks to the journalistic initiative of eldiario.es, it has been possible have documentary evidence of them.

He warned that attempts to change people’s sexual orientation:

Can produce serious psychological disorders and even lead to suicide.

Image via YouTube

Last Friday, the Secretary General of Spain’s bishops’ conference, Bishop Luis Argüello, above, supported Plá and said the news report was fueled by “hatred” and that it “manipulates the truth.”

He also hit out at protesters who, after reading the original El Diario report, interrupted a Mass at the cathedral of Alcala. He said it was  “disrespectful”.

The bishops’ conference said the news reports about the diocese’s “gay cure” courses are nothing but:

A new exercise of manipulation of the truth and intentional disinformation that ends up provoking the ‘hatred’ it claims to want to avoid or denounce.

Argüello added that “homosexuality is not cured”, but said the Church “accompanies” those who are “uncomfortable” with their homosexuality.

We defend the freedom of conscience of each person to face their different existential situations seeking help and accompaniment in the people and institutions that deserve their trust, among these, the Church.

He claimed that when the Church uses the world “healing” in regard to the LGBT community iy uses the word in a “spiritual” context, not a medical one.

In addition, Argüello also argued that Spain has a duty under its constitution, and through international treaties on religious freedom, to protect the Church.

Ratzinger blames clerical abuse on the sixties

Image via YouTube

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that retired Joseph Ratzinger aka emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, above, has published a letter which blames clerical sex abuse on the “all-out sexual freedom” of the 1960s.

He said that cultural and historical change had led to a “dissolution” of morality in Catholicism.

The sexual revolution in the 1960s had led to homosexuality and paedophilia in Catholic establishments, he claimed.

In a Crux piece, he is reported as arguing that the scandals reflect a decline in faith in a personal God.

Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God. We Christians and priests also prefer not to talk about God, because this speech does not seem to be practical.

The letter sparked fierce criticism from theologians who claim it is “deeply flawed”.

Vatican expert Joshua McElwee said:

It does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

Some allegations of child sex abuse by priests that have emerged date back to decades, even centuries, before the 1960s, the decade that Pope Benedict claims sparked the abuse crisis.

Julie Rubio, a Catholic theologian, said in a tweet that the letter was “profoundly troubling”.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Ratzinger report)


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  • Raging Bee

    …he is reported as arguing that the scandals reflect a decline in faith in a personal God.

    Well, yeah, people are bound to have less faith in a “personal god” when they start to realize he/she/they show no signs of even existing, let alone helping anyone.

    It does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

    …the Inquisition that dares not speak its name?

  • Tawreos

    Why does raping kids, torturing adults, and covering things up seem to be the church’s favorite pastimes?

  • Broga

    ” Bishop Luis Argüello, above, supported Plá and said the news report was fueled by “hatred” and that it “manipulates the truth.”

    I guess, as an RC, he would know about fueling “hatred” and “manipulating the truth.” Manipulating the truth would be an improvement to be welcomed from the RC hierarchy as what they manipulate isn’t truth in the first place.

  • Broga

    I thought Benedict was terminally ill when he legged it to be cosseted by adoring nuns. Just shows what prayer can do. He is still there and able to unload his pearls of nonsense on those who listen. He must be a right pain in the butt for Frankie. With Popes two into one just doesn’t work. It isn’t like Jesus where three into one works just fine, including the Ghost.

    I watched a couple of TV programmes on Black Holes as in astronomy, that is. Nothing to do with priests. When the astronomers were asked about “the singularity” at the heart of a Black Hole and meshing quantum discoveries with Einstein’s theory of relativity (hang in there I’m nearly finished) they all said “we just do not know how they can be fitted together and yet it happens every day in nature.” What occurred to me was the difference between these brilliant men and women and priests. How often do priests say “we just do not know.”

    They did not mention God. Shame Jesus hadn’t solved that as it would have provided a reason to respect for him.

  • mordred

    Tradition?

  • CoastalMaineBird

    Ran out of BINGO cards?

  • CoastalMaineBird

    From another article on Rat-Singer’s excuses list:
    Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was this all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms.

    The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence. That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers.

    Anybody remember the Revolution of ’68 ? I remember the Chicago Democratic Convention, but I wouldn’t call it a “revolution”.
    Anybody remember the porn films and plane fights ?

    Yeah, me neither. The guy is just bonkers.

  • Chris Hogue

    According to this Louis C.K. documentary, that’s what the church was created for.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VABSoHYQr6k

  • Chris Hogue

    I support conversion therapy. Believers need help to become people who accept reality.

  • Matt G

    1. Religious person or institution X engages in unethical and/or illegal activity Y.
    2. X gets criticized and/or investigated for Y.
    3. X complains they are being singled out for being X (and not for doing Y).

  • Raging Bee

    The only thing I remember even remotely like that is more recent, when a bunch of Haredi Jews on a charter flight got pissy over the in-flight movie. Don’t think it was a “sex film” though…

  • Raging Bee

    Yeah, I’m sure there’s lots of people who enjoy getting a pearl necklace of nonsense from the Pope, ifyouknowwhatimean…[EDIT: nudge nudge say no more…]

  • Brian Davis

    It starts out looking like conversion therapy. In the end it still looks just like conversion therapy. But because a priest says some words its essence transubstantiates into “welcoming and accompanying”. No, there’s no way to verify that it isn’t still the same old conversion therapy. You just need to have faith and believe.

  • TheBookOfDavid

    In their defense, Christianity is premised on the assumption that we were all born broken, and simply need to be fixed, for the right price. In his mind, bishop Plá is shocked and frustrated at being obstructed from doing to LGBT members what his church has done to humanity in general for centuries.