Pope Francis said that parents should not reject their children for being gay, but urged families to take their gay kids to therapy.
On a flight home from an event in Ireland, Pope Francis told reporters, “There have always been gay people and people with homosexual tendencies.”
Asked what parents should do if they believe their children are gay, the pope suggested taking them to see a psychiatrist.
“I would say first of all pray, not to condemn, to dialogue, to understand, to give space to the son or the daughter,” he said. “When it shows itself from childhood, there is a lot that can be done through psychiatry, to see how things are. It is something else if it shows itself after 20 years. Ignoring a son or daughter who has homosexual tendencies is an error of fatherhood or motherhood.”
He did not elaborate on what he thinks psychiatry would do for gay youth.
A Vatican spokeswoman later issued a clarification saying, “When the pope referred to ‘psychiatry’, it is clear that he was doing it to highlight an example of ‘things that can be done’. But with that word he didn’t mean to say that it (homosexuality) was a ‘mental illness.’”