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The bishops are calling for these ‘clinics’ despite acknowledging scientific evidence is against them.

Bishops in Poland have called for ‘clinics’ to be set up for LGBTQ+ people to “regain their natural sexual orientation” following a plenary meeting of the Polish Episcopal Conference (KEP).

The three-day conference, which ended on Saturday (29 August), was the first one held since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In a 27-page document, the KEP set out their stance on the LGBTQ+ community, and while they condemned violence against LGBTQ+ people, they hardly offered their support.

In the document, they set out that it is “necessary to create clinics (including with the assistance of the church) to help people who want to regain their sexual health and natural sexual orientation.”

They wrote this despite acknowledging that it “stands in clear contradiction to positions regarded as scientific, as well as to so-called ‘political correctness’.”

These ‘clinics’ are essentially ‘conversion therapy’ camps, a practice that has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer. Numerous countries have taken steps to ban the practice, and the UN is urging for a worldwide ban.

The language used is clear, as the bishops say that these ‘clinics’ would help people realise that being LGBTQ+ is “a symptom of wounds on various levels of their personality.”

One Polish priest, Father Jacek Prusak spoke out against the document, telling TVN24 that the KEP were “treating the bible as a psychology textbook and a constitution for all Poles, and this cannot be done.” He added that the timing of the document wasn’t accidental, and that it was partially aimed at Polish politicians.

During the recent Polish election, President Andrzej Duda, made opposition to LGBTQ+ rights a key plank of his re-election campaign, promising to ban same-sex couples from marrying or adopting children.

Elsewhere in the document, the KEP condemned violence against the LGBTQ+ community, writing: “The requirement of respect for all people, including people identifying with LGBT+, is entirely correct, and a democratic state with the rule of law should ensure that none of the fundamental rights of these people are violated.

“Any acts of physical or verbal violence, any forms of hooligan behaviour and aggression against LGBT+ people are unacceptable.”

However, they added that they rejected “the right of a person to self-determine their gender without reference to objective criteria determined by their genome and anatomy” noting a “radical separation between biological sex and cultural gender.”

They also added that LGBTQ+ people need to respect “the rights of other members of society, especially their religious feelings, moral principles and the principles of public order.”

Last week, a gay Polish couple, Dawid Mycek and Jakub Kwiecinski, travelled to the Vatican and unfurled a Pride flag calling for help. They hoped that the Pope may assist them in condemning the wave of homophobia that is currently enveloping Poland, particularly coming from the country’s religious leaders.

Writing about their decision to fly the flag, the couple said on Instagram: “Our big rainbow flag flew proudly for several dozen minutes, and on it a large inscription HELP. Because if Pope Francis himself wears a rainbow cross and says: ‘It doesn’t matter that you are gay! God loves you as you are’, it’s time for the Polish Church to teach the same thing, which still fuels hatred against LGBT people.

“We were amazed how many Catholics from different countries approached us with words of support. Nobody felt offended by the rainbow, the police did not chase us out, and when we were alone in the square an hour longer, one of the priests came to us, offered water and listened to what we had to say.”

Related: New Polish minister has linked “LGBT ideology” to a “civilisation of death”