Vatican explains Pope Francis's remarks on psychiatric help for gay children
The Vatican appears to have rowed back on remarks made by Pope Francis that gay children should get psychiatric help.
The pontiff made the comment while speaking to journalists on his way home from Ireland on Sunday.
When asked about how parent should respond to a child who might be gay, he said:
"When it (homosexuality) 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."
He also said that he wanted to encourage parents of gay children “to pray, to not condemn, to dialogue, to make room.”
The pope was speaking to journalists on his way back to Rome after his two-day visit to Ireland at the weekend.
The Vatican's official website published his answer but omitted the part about psychiatry.
A Vatican spokesperson said that Pope Francis wasn't associating being gay with mental illness.
"When the pope referred to ‘psychiatry’, it is clear that he was doing it to highlight an example of ‘things that can be done’," she told AFP.
"But with that word he didn’t mean to say that it was a ‘mental illness’."
The Pope's remark was condemned by Colm O'Gorman, head of Amnesty International Ireland and a clerical abuse survivor.
"He is basically saying that young gay people can be changed, which is archaic and has been refuted numerous times," he told The Times.