Pope’s visit to Ireland disappoints all sides

The Pope’s visit to the Republic of Ireland ended on a sour note for advocates of treating LGBT people with respect, after scenes during his visit highlighted how far the country has moved from hanging on his every word.

A rally expected to bring 500,000 people together to hear the head of the Catholic Church drew just 130,000, leading to photos of mostly-empty fields.

But quizzed as he left about how parents of gay children should respond to coming out, Pope Francis proposed that they seek therapy for their kids.

He explained that his message for parents in such situations was “first of all to pray. Then, to not condemn, to talk, to understand, to make space for the son or daughter.”

So far so good, and if he had stopped there we would be reflecting on a bold step forward into the mid 20th century.

But he continued: “it depends on the age”, explaining that “it is one thing if it is manifested in children. There are many things one can do with a psychiatrist.

But… “It is another if it’s manifested in your 20’s.”

Conversion therapy has of course been comprehensively debunked. Perhaps the news hasn’t reached the Vatican yet.

Or – and sadly it’s a million to one shot this – perhaps the Pontiff was reflecting on how years of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic lies from his co-workers might mean queer teens need to hear independent voices of support?

No, we don’t think he meant that either. Shame.