Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.

SOCE Efforts Decrease Suicide

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2021

This was originally published on, by William Mahoney, Ph.D.

The Vatican, prelates, and priests are adding confusion on top of confusion by rejecting therapy for those who freely want to work through their same-sex attraction. Some pro-LGBT clerics and nominally Catholic groups are even claiming such therapy increases suicidal ideation and attempts to kill oneself. But Church Militant's William Mahoney spoke with one expert who flips this narrative on its head.

Dissident pro-homosexual groups like New Ways Ministry are celebrating the Vatican's rejection of therapy. Often referred pejoratively as "conversion therapy," more objective scientific literature often calls such therapy "SOCE" — sexual orientation change efforts.

And, of course, just last week, pro-LGBT Jesuit James Martin tweeted, "Did you know that in the US alone ... LGBT youth who had conversion therapy were more than twice as like [sic] to have attempted suicide?"

Fr. Paul Sullins: "SOCE doesn't make persons more suicidal. In fact, it does just the opposite. It reduces suicidality a lot, and in certain measures, it reduces the suicidality by about 15 times: They're about 15 times less likely to make a suicide attempt."

Martin first referenced Netflix'sPray Away, which he describes as "an important new film about the dangers of so-called conversion therapy."

The Jesuit then cited the "twice as likely" statistic based on a study that has been used to enact legal bans on SOCE, but Fr. Sullins explained that study is itself flawed.

Fr. Paul Sullins:

In this study, they just looked at persons who had SOCE and then their lifetime rate of suicidality. And you can apply the same argument there. You can say maybe it isn't the SOCE that made them suicidal. In fact, they went to SOCE because they were more suicidal. And that's exactly what I found. Sixty-five percent of the suicidality expressed by SOCE participants happened before they went to the SOCE.

The attempt of Vatican officials, New Ways Ministry, Martin and the gang to cancel SOCE, along with the political Left, is not only based on flawed research, it's dangerous.

Fr. Paul Sullins:

It's not only that SOCE's not harmful, the truth is it's very helpful. And by banning this type of therapy, making it unavailable to sexual minority persons who are struggling with their identity, they're going to end up bringing about the very result that they claim they want to prevent by banning SOCE.

Vatican officials and men like Martin are rejecting SOCE in the name of "accompaniment."

But by embracing flawed research and false narratives, their efforts are not only increasing the risk of spiritual death by blessing sin, but also the risk of physical death by suicide, possibly accompanying some to their graves.

Church Militant spoke with Fr. Sullins on Saturday at the2021 Survivors' Summitwhere he was a speaker.


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