THE Catholic Church in Paisley has come under fire after advising parents of LGBT children to seek help from a controversial American “gay conversion” group.

A document on the church’s website urges concerned mums and dads to “arm yourself with the truth” by researching work carried out by NARTH, a group who lead “the field in cutting edge research into the causes of Same Sex Attraction as well as therapeutic interventions that have proven successful with those seeking healing and change”.

The recommendation came in a booklet, posted online, called “Mom... Dad I’m Gay — How Should a Catholic Parent Respond?”.

Written by David Prosen, a therapist who claims to have been cured of his gay desires, it tells parents that it is a “common misconception” that “homosexuality is intractable and that change is impossible”.

He adds: “As time goes on, it might seem like it’s hopeless if your child is continuing to get steeped in the ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ culture. Don’t give up. I can say this to you with confidence today because my mom never gave up on me.”

NARTH, formerly the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and now the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity Training Institute, was founded partly in response to the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

One of the founders, Joseph Nicolosi, believed all men are born heterosexual and that homosexuality is the result of childhood trauma or neglect.

“Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will,” he wrote.

Another founder, Charles Socarides, told the Washington Post in 1997 that homosexuality was “a psychological and psychiatric disorder, there is no question about it".

He added: “It is a purple menace that is threatening the proper design of gender distinctions and society.”

In 2006, in a post on their website, a member of their scientific advisory board, Joseph Berger, the group encouraged the playground bullying of trans and gay children.

“Let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.”

The group’s work on conversion therapy, also known as reparative therapy or ex-gay therapy has been widely discredited, and the NHS has called described the practice as “unethical and potentially harmful”.

Earlier this year the government announced that they would to stamp out conversion therapies.

The alliance’s website says its clinicians use “a variety of conventional, common therapeutic modalities when working with their clients. Some of these approaches include cognitive, interpersonal, psychodynamic, narrative, and group interventions, often in combination”.

Gordon MacRae, of Humanist Society Scotland, told The Sunday Times that the material on the diocese site was “extremely worrying”. “There is no such thing as ‘converting’ LGBT+ people. It is a lie based on pseudo-science that puts people’s lives in danger.”

The Scottish Catholic Church said the link was part of the church’s Courage initiative, an approved apostolate for men and women with same-sex attractions: “The diocese of Paisley carries links to Courage, which may signpost other links or resources. This does not represent an endorsement or recommendation.”