CNA Staff, Apr 26, 2021 / 18:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Legitimate religious practice could fall under a too-broad ban on “conversion therapy” backed by LGBT activists in Ireland and Northern Ireland, critics have said.
Fr. Phillip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International, told CNA April 23 that the Irish bill in effect it will “restrict the freedom, and often the willingness, of pastoral ministers and other people of faith and good will to speak, in public or one-on-one, about what the Word of God has to say on issues of sexual morality, attraction and identity.”
“They will not be the only ones intimidated, however,” added Bochanski, whose Catholic apostolate ministers to Catholics with same-sex attraction. “Ultimately, legislation like this, and the rhetoric that accompanies it, will make it less likely that people experiencing same-sex attractions or gender identity discordance will seek out the pastoral care that they need and deserve. I hope that those who propose the legislation will come to realize that it may end up hurting some of the very people whom they say they are trying to protect.”
In the Republic of Ireland, a bill first introduced in 2018 is still in committee in the 60-seat Senate. The bill, proposed by Sinn Fein’s Sen. Fintan Warfield, has close to 20 senators as co-sponsors.
Bochanksi said the Senate alleged that Courage practiced conversion therapy in discussions over the bill.