Scottish Bishops Reject Govt “Conversion Therapy” Report – Future of Church & Family Threatened

Scottish Bishops Reject Govt “Conversion Therapy” Report – Future of Church & Family Threatened

Bishops urge Scottish Government to reject “Conversion Therapy” report

Monday 16 January 2023

Responding to the publication of the Scottish Government’s ‘expert’ advisory group on “Ending Conversion Practices”, Scotland’s Catholic Bishops have issued the following statement:

The Church is pastorally sensitive to the experience of people who identify as homosexual. They are to be met with compassion and particular care and support in the challenges that come with all that life brings them. The Church supports legislation which protects people from physical and verbal abuse. The advice of the expert committee, however, seeks to extend the scope of such legislation in a way that is gravely concerning in regard to freedom of religion and expression.

A fundamental pillar of any free society is that the state recognises and respects the right of religious bodies and organisations to be free to teach the fulness of their beliefs and to support, through prayer, counsel and other pastoral means, their members who wish to live in accordance with those beliefs.

The conclusions of the Scottish Government’s ‘expert’ advisory group on “Ending Conversion Practices” are gravely concerning. If accepted, legal counsel has warned that they would outlaw pastoral care, prayer, parental guidance and advice relating to sexual orientation, expression of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, other than that which is deemed by the state to constitute “affirmative care”.

These proposals, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, would criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical or other professional intervention relating to sexual orientation, unless it was approved by the State as acceptable.

It could criminalise the Church’s teaching about God’s creation of the human person as male and female and the meaning of sex as within marriage, and that anyone who proposes this teaching to someone with same sex attraction or gender identity issues would face sanctions. This would apply even if the person with these issues wanted help to follow Church teaching since this law would say they cannot consent to this teaching.

Priests could be banned from working in Scotland, the Church could lose its charitable status, and classroom and pastoral teachers could lose their jobs. There would be uncertainty about the future of Catholic schools and children could be taken away from their parents. As the first educators of their children, parents alone have the right to advise and guide their children in such matters.

Moreover, the ‘expert’ advisory group is unclear what is meant by the term ‘conversion practices’ and this will create a chilling effect and may criminalise advice or opinion given in good faith.

Existing legislation rightly protects all people from physical and verbal abuse, however, these proposals go much further.

In urging the Scottish Government to reject this report, we are drawn to the recent words of  Pope Francis who has pointed out: “There is a risk of drifting into what more and more appears as an ideological totalitarianism that promotes intolerance towards those who dissent from certain positions claimed to represent “progress”, but in fact would appear to lead to an overall regression of humanity, with the violation of freedom of thought and freedom of conscience.”  Source – Scottish Catholic Media Office

Editor writes…

Praise where it’s due – this is a fairly strong rebuttal of the Scottish Government’s shockingly totalitarian ban on so-called “Conversion Therapy” – aka the right to seek help or advice on so-called sexual “orientation”.  So, we appreciate this statement from the Bishops of Scotland.

However, it may be a case of “too little, too late” as the Bishops now speak from a very weakened position. The Church’s once respected voice of authority has been greatly diminished in recent years.  Perhaps if the Bishops had spoken out years ago to challenge the manner in which the LGBT+ lobby were hijacking the moral code there wouldn’t be any need to address the issues raised in the above statement. So, the key question has to centre on whether or not the Government will pay any attention at all to the above concerns, let alone give serious weight to the Bishops’ statement, at this late stage.   Your thoughts…

Comments (17)

  • westminsterfly Reply

    All this for a tiny, tiny minority. Although these Office of National Statistics for 2021 are from England and Wales, I can’t see Scotland being a lot different. https://gloria.tv/post/qxCxtr6H7LrH38ecUEceLYtkD There’s no joined up thinking here. The Scottish government seem quite happy for a child to declare it is a member of the opposite sex, but wants to criminalise those who help any adult who wants to do something about unwanted same-sex attraction.

    January 16, 2023 at 1:00 pm
    • Lily Reply

      WF,

      That’s a very good point indeed about the Scottish Government wanting to allow kids to change sex but not adults! Typical SNP.

      As for the bishops – yes, it’s much too late for them to be taken seriously by the politicians,, IMHO. They surrendered their authority when they offered to close the churches during Covid. Sturgeon will dismiss their statement with a shrug.

      January 16, 2023 at 1:50 pm
      • Fidelis

        Lily,

        I agree that the SNP government will dismiss this statement from the bishops – they gave the game away when they closed the churches for lockdown even before there was a ruling to do so. God was not essential then, and I can see Sturgeon asking why he’s suddenly essential now!

        January 16, 2023 at 5:41 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Great and True comment. Sturgeon and the Evil Patrick Harvie have been Batting for the Queers now for years.
        Just in case all on here don’t know. If you want Transgender Treatment it will be given within 18 Weeks.
        My Granddaughter requires treatment from an Orthodontist and will have to wait for a Year. It’s good to know that the Horrible S.N.P.
        know what’s good for our Children.

        January 16, 2023 at 6:15 pm
    • Laura Reply

      WF,

      Those stats speak for themselves. Only 1.5% of people in E & W identify as LGBT+ – that’s incredible, given that they wield huge influence in every aspect of modern life across the U K. The stats are probably even fewer in Scotland. It’s these sorts of stats that the bishops should use when making statements on these moral issues. They’re too busy trying to seem “reasonable” that they miss opportunities like this, handed to them on a plate.

      January 16, 2023 at 5:47 pm
      • westminsterfly

        Laura,
        I agree. Never having been to Scotland (actually, tell a lie, I did dip my toe in once when I crossed the bridge at Kelso!) I don’t know if the LGBT thing is massively overplayed, as it is in England. Sometimes it seems like 99.5% of the population are LGBT down here. I think C4M made a good point when they say that LGBT types tend to gravitate towards large cities where there are more opportunities to socialise and have sexual contact, which is why the percentage is higher in cities, and very often the MSM reflects what is going on in cities, as opposed to the country in general. Down here, just about every section of the MSM accept all this as healthy and normal. I’ve even noticed that TV adverts have obviously ‘gay’ couples in them. Although it’s a completely different thing, they even do it with ethnic minorities. I was reading a report recently which stated that ethnic minorities are massively over-represented on MSM TV, especially in adverts. This is the power of the media to distort the facts.

        January 17, 2023 at 10:10 am
      • editor

        Westminsterfly,

        One way or another, you MUST come to Glasgow for our Conference in March. C’mon! Else, how can you justify your wonderful contributions to a Scottish blog? Even Wurdesmythe has been to Scotland and he’s even been on the Glasgow tourist bus. Goodness, he’s an expert on Scotland – you need to catch up 😀

        PS RCA Victor has also been to Scotland and he’s even been to Loch Lomond as well as a CT Conference in Glasgow. There’s no end to the qualifications these bloggers have for contributing here. Show me YOUR certificate… I mean, they can come all the way from the USA and you can’t make it from south of the border? Anti-Scottish discrimination, that’s what I call it. 😀

        January 17, 2023 at 10:33 am
  • WurdeSmythe Reply

    The bishops are responding to radical progressivism with moderate liberalism? The objections are ineffectual – it’s putting cheap lipstick on a monstrous hog.

    Governments encourage desirable behavior and marginalize or prohibit undesirable behavior so as to form a citizenry possessed of a certain character. I wouldn’t care to be a citizen with the inhuman character that these inhumane officials are attempting to form.

    Acknowledge the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus Christ over society as well as over individual souls, then pray for illumination while enacting policies and write laws to conform with that acknowledgment.

    January 16, 2023 at 2:32 pm
    • Josephine Reply

      Wurdesmythe,

      I respectfully disagree with you about the bishops’ statement. Since they’ve remained silent for many years about the LGBT+ takeover in society, this is fairly strong stuff. I agree that this is Catholic religion “light” but compared to what we’ve had for a long time, it is a quite big step in the right direction.

      Of course they should speak about Christ as sovereign lord over all society and creation, but just the fact that they have spelt out that this ban on “conversion therapy” is dangerous and threatening to the Church and parents, is a huge step forward. I’m surprised you don’t see that.

      January 16, 2023 at 3:14 pm
    • Laura Reply

      Wurdesmythe,

      I take your point, but the fact that the bishops have spelt out the danger to families and priests, is important and this is really a first in Scotland. I think it’s really only going to be when the government puts the boot in and really affects priests and parents that the bishops will start to wake up and realise that “moderate liberalism” as you call it, doesn’t work.

      January 16, 2023 at 5:44 pm
    • Athanasius Reply

      Wurdesmythe

      While Laura and Josephine make a good point, I have to say that my full agreement is with your comment.

      We have become so accustomed to the Catholic hierarchy’s silence in moral matters these days that we jump for joy the moment they actually do something akin to their duty before God. On this occasion I applaud the bishops for at least speaking out in public, but it seems to me that their words have a grovelling subservience rather than a Christlike authority about them. I urge people to read this statement of the bishops again and try to imagine if this is how Our Lord would address the Scottish Government. That’s the measure I use.

      Long gone are the days when Marxist governments like the SNP feared the moral authority of the Church and her power to direct all Catholics (under pain of excommunication) to refrain from voting for anti-Christian political entities. These bishops have greater authority (divine) in the moral sphere than any secular government, yet they behave as though the secular government has the greater authority. We saw this most distinctly during COVID with the church lockdowns. That’s why the Marxists just brush them aside.

      January 16, 2023 at 10:21 pm
      • editor

        Wurdesmythe and Athanasius,

        I can’t see anybody “jumping for joy” at the Bishops’ statement. Saying (as I did) that it is a “fairly strong rebuttal” (of the Government) is hardly “jumping for joy”.

        It is, in my humble view, important to always be aware that we are living through the worst ever crisis in the Church and so when there is even the slightest sign of improvement, we might pray “Deo Gratias!” I have torn various pastoral letters and other episcopal statements to shreds in our newsletter over the years, with my injected editorial comment because those are addressed to the faithful and usually fall far short of the exhortations we need to hear/read on the practice of the Faith. On this occasion, in a statement addressed to politicians, there were some hard-hitting statements against the immoral route being taken by this evil Scottish Parliament, and this contrasts with their previous open support for the Sturgeon Government. It is against this backdrop that I praised the statement. Indeed, the following extracts are nothing short of a breakthrough against the background of years of silence in the face of the disgraceful antics of the Godless SNP Government: These statements, I maintain, deserve some measure of appreciation… Nobody – certainly not yours truly – is saying that the statement is perfect. Far from it. But it’s going to annoy wee Nicola, that’s for sure. And so that’s progress 😀

        These proposals, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, would criminalise mainstream religious pastoral care, parental guidance, and medical or other professional intervention relating to sexual orientation, unless it was approved by the State as acceptable.

        It could criminalise the Church’s teaching about God’s creation of the human person as male and female and the meaning of sex as within marriage, and that anyone who proposes this teaching to someone with same sex attraction or gender identity issues would face sanctions. This would apply even if the person with these issues wanted help to follow Church teaching since this law would say they cannot consent to this teaching.

        Priests could be banned from working in Scotland, the Church could lose its charitable status, and classroom and pastoral teachers could lose their jobs. There would be uncertainty about the future of Catholic schools and children could be taken away from their parents. As the first educators of their children, parents alone have the right to advise and guide their children in such matters. End of extracts

        It would be wonderful if the Bishops had written in the urgent spirit of the Gospels to “repent and believe” or in the spirit of Catholic Social Teaching, to place Christ the King at the head of the nation, but that won’t happen for a while yet. We can’t claim one minute that we have an apostate hierarchy and then the next express dismay that they don’t write public statements full of faith, fire and fury!

        I suggest that it would be more realistic to recall St Paul’s wise words to the Corinthians about milk vs meat: the Scottish Government is at the stage when it can only take baby food – milk. It’s not yet ready for the meat of the fullness of the Christian message.

        We will now stand a sing every verse of Faith of our Fathers 😀

        January 17, 2023 at 12:07 am
      • Athanasius

        Editor

        My use of the term “jump for joy” wasn’t to be taken literally, it was just a turn of phrase, but I get where you’re coming from. It’s just a pity that we are so starved now of proper Church leadership that even a reasonably solid statement in defence of morals is like a breath of fresh air. Having said that, it’s certainly far better than the usual response of the bishops and therefore to be welcomed.

        January 17, 2023 at 1:02 am
      • editor

        Athanasius,

        I totally agree – and I have often criticised people for the same reason, if you recall, when I would receive emails saying “crisis over!” every time a bishop issued an anti-abortion/pro-life statement. I would point out that there are atheists, Hindus, Muslims etc who oppose abortion – it’s not a “Catholic” issue. But, we are so starved, as you put it, of true episcopal leadership that we almost DO jump for joy when a bishop says something remotely sound. Well said.

        January 17, 2023 at 8:42 am
  • Josephine Reply

    Laura,

    I agree – this might not be all we’d like it to be but it’s quite a leap for the Scottish bishops to challenge the Sturgeon government on this and express concerns about the criminalising of priests and parents. I pleased with it.

    January 16, 2023 at 10:10 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    This Gender Bill has been the topic in a few TV news shows, even in America where it was headlined “Sturgeon takes on the UK”, LOL! She couldn’t take a photograph without spinning it, so I had to laugh.

    I do hope Sunak sticks to his word and calls it out using the law (? section 35, I think) at his disposal.

    January 16, 2023 at 10:15 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    For what it’s worth, I agree with the sentiments already expressed, namely, that this is the equivalent of your bishops sticking their big toe in the water for the first time, to check the temperature. Not exactly fire and brimstone, as Wurdesmyth and all of us hope for, not exactly a triple gainer 10-meter high dive, but a start. Could this be a sign that the tyrannical Francis is losing his grip?

    Who knows, perhaps their act of fidelity will result in more graces, especially the fortitude and the faith to jump all the way into the pool…or even to walk across it…

    January 17, 2023 at 3:22 pm

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