German Catholic Doctors Spark Outrage by Offering Homeopathic Treatment for Homosexuality

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Germany’s Union of Catholic Physicians (UCP), which admits that it does not represent official Catholic positions, has sparked outrage over its claim that treatments such as homeopathy can be used to keep homosexual inclinations at bay.

Der Spiegel is reporting that the UCP has been offering homeopathic “Therapy Options for Homosexuality” on their website alongside other treatments such as psychotherapy and religious counseling. Their homeopathic options include “constitutional treatments with homeopathic tools … such as homeopathic dilutions like Platinum” and “Globuli” which are tiny pills that consist mostly of sugar.

“We know about a number of people with homosexual feelings who find themselves in a spiritual and psychological emergency and suffer greatly,” UCP head Gero Winkelmann told Spiegel in a written statement. “If someone is unhappy, ill or feels they are in an emergency, they should be able to find options for help with us.”

Winkelmann, who runs a private practice with an emphasis on homeopathy in the Bavarian town of Unterhaching, also stressed that the UCP website had not been recently updated, “because the issue is not particularly topical at the moment.”

Notwithstanding the fact that there continues to be no scientific evidence  to support the efficacy of homeopathic treatments, the homosexual community is also up-in-arms by the group’s suggestion that homosexuality needs to be treated as if it were a disease. The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) called the suggestion an “insult,” and an “impertinence” that showed “a lack of respect for homosexuals and bisexuals.”

Touting ineffective medication for nonexistent suffering is unacceptable, the LSVD said. “The offerings are dangerous,” said spokeswoman Renate Rampf. “They use the insecurities of homosexual or bisexual young people and their parents.” Such “laughable” therapeutic ministrations are problematic because they can be “destabilizing,” she said.

Winkelmann defended the treatments, saying his organization’s intentions were not meant to “injure or pressure” anyone, but to express a “position and medical opinion” to interested parties.

The UCP website includes a testimonial from a German man with same-sex attractions who said he was happy to find that the organization believed “that changing homosexual tendencies was possible” because finding a therapist to undertake such a task had been difficult. “Unfortunately the widespread opinion among psychotherapists is that homosexuality is inherent and unalterable,” he writes.

In spite of the fact that U.S. medical groups as well as the World Health Organization have removed homosexuality from its lists of diseases and/or disorders, the Catholic Church considers homosexual acts to be “intrinsically disordered” because they are contrary to the natural law and close the sexual act to the gift of life (Catechism No. 2357). Men and women with these tendencies are called to chastity and to unite whatever sufferings they endure because of their condition to the cross of Christ.

The Church has no official position on homeopathy, but as Pope Pius XII clarified in 1957, it does expect the faithful to use “only ordinary means –  according to the circumstances of persons, places, times and culture — that is to say, means that do not involve any grave burden for oneself or another” for treatment of diseases and conditions. The use of scientifically unfounded methods, such as homeopathy, is considered to be in the realm of “superstitious medicine”.

In addition, the Pontifical document, “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life”, homeopathy is listed among a variety of holistic health techniques connected with the New Age. (Sec. 2.2.3)

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