Catholic Church offers therapy to 'cure' gays in Poland
David Edwards
Published: Saturday May 17, 2008

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The sixth-ever International Day Against Homophobia is held May 17, but many homosexuals in Poland will not celebrate it.

The Catholic Church has created rehabilitation centers in Poland to rehabilitate gay people and "get them back on the right path."

The Odwaga Center uses therapy, prayer and chastity to teach its patients to resist their homosexual impulses. Men at the center are taught to play football and women are taught to cook.

“When you want a candy for example, you can resist and have it later," said Lena Wojdan, a psychologist at the center. "And you can trade it for a piece of chocolate.”

But gay associations said that such psychological treatment can be dangerous for the patients' mental health.

The therapists tell them that it will pass and when it doesn't, they feel much more depressed, said Marta Abramowicz of Campaign Against Homophobia.

"I know many cases when people after that committed suicide," she said.

Several public leaders in the European Union have recently been criticized for discriminating against gay people. A gay American man voiced outrage against Poland's President Lech Kaczynski for using a video of his marriage to another man to publicly denounce an EU proposal for gay rights.

A survey published last year showed that more than half of all Poles view homosexuality as a sin.

This video is from AFP, broadcast May 15, 2008.

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(with wire reports)