Swiss Bishop’s Apology (?) for Gay ‘Cure’ Remark

It cannot be repeated often enough: same – sex affectional orientation is entirely natural, is not some kind of “disease”, and cannot be “cured”.

It’s good news that a Swiss bishop who claimed the opposite last week, has clearly seen enough of a backlash against his remarks, that he’s now issued an apology – but it’s not at all clear to me that he’s made things any better.

As reported by Gay Star News, this is the “apology”:


Photo by Diocese of Sion

Bishop of Sion Jean-Marie Lovely says he now regrets saying homosexuals can be ‘cured’ of their sexual orientation through prayer, adding that he only meant people with a partial homosexual inclination.

A Catholic bishop in a French speaking part of Switzerland says he regrets how comments he made about homosexuality have been ‘misunderstood’ after he said that sexual orientation could be ‘cured’ through prayer.

However in an interview with Le Matin newspaper published this week the bishop said that his comments had been misunderstood and he regretted that.

‘I never wanted to hurt or stigmatize anyone,’ Bishop Lovely said.

‘I don’t consider homosexuality to be an illness. But I do know people whose homosexual tendencies were fleeting, without claiming this is the case for everyone.

via Gay Star News.

So far, so good – up to a point, if one rather generously assumes that what he is referring to as people with “fleeting homosexual tendencies” are straight people, tempted by homosexual adventures. (There is a school of thought which suggests that these are the people apparently condemned by Paul in Romans 1, and not those who are naturally gay).

But to my mind, this makes things much worse – unless the original French has been seriously lost in translation. (I’m attempting to track down an original source).

I used the term “cure” for a person who was homosexual and who talks in these terms about his personal experience.’



Here’s the original French for the questionable sentence (translated by Gay Star as above. The Google translation is almost identical).

J’ai emprunté le terme de «guérison» à une personne qui était homosexuelle et qui parle en ces termes de son expérience personnelle.

In the full text of his clarification, Bishop Lovey insists that he never intended to hurt or offend anyone, points out quite correctly that in the original interview he clearly stated that homosexualiy is NOT a disease, and that the broader context of the interview had been to encourage a welcome for “homosexuals” in the Church. Yet even in his attempted apology, he once again used the word “cure”, which he said he had used specifically with reference to “a person who was homosexual and who talks in these terms about his personal experience”.

So if a “cure” is not appropriate for homosexuals in general, because it is not a disease, then when exactly does it become appropriate? It seems that his distinction applies to one who “talks in these terms about his personal experience”, which I suspect is a reference to those who are honest enough to identify openly as gay. We should also note that while it is certainly true that in his original interview, he denied that homosexuality is a disease – but he coupled this with a scarcely less offensive rider. Replying to the question, “For you, so it is a disease?” his answer was

No, it is a weakness of nature.

This second statement he did not retract, nor has he retracted his earlier claim that “psychological cures exist” (in French “Des guérisons psychologiques existent. L’homosexualité peut être guérie.”)


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