The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland (ACP) is supporting conversion therapy ban and calling for additional research on these “ineffective and harmful” practices, all as part of a national inquiry about the topic.
As reported by Gay Community News, the Irish government’s Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has commissioned the Trinity College School of Nursing and Midwifery to “study the effects of conversion therapies, also called Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts, which are widely known as ineffective and as detrimental to people’s wellbeing.” The aim of this research is to understand the use of the conversion therapy in Ireland and to make informed decisions for a national ban of the practice.
By disavowing conversion therapy practices, ACP is affirming its support for the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual safety of LGBTQ+ Catholics. Alan Edge, a campaign office for LGBT Ireland, undergirds ACP’s support, noting that religious LGBTQ+ people “are particularly susceptible to these types of interventions and may be especially vulnerable as they try to reconcile their beliefs and traditions with their sexuality or gender identity.”
The research study includes an anonymous survey open to all Irish LGBTQ+ citizens who have experienced conversion therapy efforts.
The Irish Association of Catholic Priests support of this national conversion therapy ban is just one of several instances of their support for LGBTQ+ Catholics.
This past January, ACP came to the defense of a former priest, Richard Geoghegan, who had been dismissed by his bishop and then laicized, potentially because he participated in a drag celebration. While Bishop Phonsie Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore claims Geoghegan wished to leave the priesthood, ACP disputed that and said the former priest was pushed out. They called the diocese’s treatment of Geoghegan “inappropriate, unreasonable and unacceptable,” according to Irish Central.
Previously, ACP has advocated for LGBTQ+ participation at the World Meeting of Families and supported their co-founder’s LGBTQ+ ministry among various other support for such Catholics.
—Bobby Nichols (he/him), New Ways Ministry, August 31, 2022