The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut is launching an outreach program to council gay men lesbians to become celibate, the Harford Courant reported.

The diocese has announced the opening of a local chapter of Courage, a Catholic ministry that teaches that being gay is okay so long as men and women remain chaste.

“Thorough support and spiritual intervention, we can help people with same-sex attraction lead moral and fulfilling lives,” Robert Pallotti, director of the Office of Diaconate, told the paper. “These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion.”

Rev. Paul Check, the director of the local chapter of the Catholic ministry, added: “[It will help people] who have a unique struggle, an often difficult and vexing one, and who want to know that the grace of Christ and his cross is available to them in concrete and practical ways.”

Commenting on the news at progressive blog, Zack Ford wrote that such programs only add to the burden gay men and lesbian already feel.

“Rather than acknowledge that Catholic teachings exacerbate the stress gays and lesbians can feel as they struggle to come out, Pallotti and Check are eager to capitalize on it,” Ford said.