On his return flight to Rome after the 9th World Meetings of Families in Dublin on Sunday, Pope Francis gave the traditional in-flight press conference. During the 45-minute q-and-a, he responded to numerous questions concerning his exchanges with the Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, on topics such as the involvement of the Church with migrants, or the fight against sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy.
When one journalist asked him what he would say to the father of a homosexual person, he said this: “There have always been homosexuals, people with homosexual tendencies. Always. Sociologists say, I don’t know if it’s true, that in times of epochal changes, some social, ethical phenomena increase; one of them would be this. This is an opinion of some sociologists.”
Ignoring a homosexual child shows a lack of paternity
“But your question is clear,” continued the pope addressing the journalist. “What would I say to a father who sees that his son or daughter has that tendency? I would say first to pray, don’t condemn; dialogue, understand, make space for them. Let them express themselves. Then: At what age does this concern of the child manifest itself? It’s important. It’s one thing when it shows itself from childhood, when 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 of age or something like that.
“But I’ll never say that silence is a remedy. To ignore a son or daughter with homosexual tendencies is a lack of paternity and maternity. You are my son, you are my daughter as you are! I’m your father, mother. Let’s talk! And if you, father and mother aren’t up to it, ask for help, but always in dialogue because that son and that daughter have the right to a family, and that family is the one they have: don’t throw them out of the family. This is a serious challenge to exercise paternity and maternity.”