Father Paul Check, the director of a program which attempts to make gay Catholics live chaste lives, has said that Christians should now go “cheerfully” rather than “gaily” into the dark, as the word gay has been too “distorted.”

In an interview with Catholic World Report, the US priest reflected on his work around the “Courage apostolate,” a program which attempts to make Catholics who experience same-sex attractions live chastely.

He said: “We have to want to live chastely, cheerfully, and joyfully.

“The problem of pornography and the problem of contraception are things that are widespread within the Catholic community, including Mass-going Catholics.

“We cannot expect that other people are only going to do what we say they should do, such as, ‘Don’t marry someone of the same sex.’ We can hardly expect to be a compelling voice if we are not already convinced of the veracity of all that the Church teaches us, so we have to live that virtue cheerfully and joyfully. And if we do, other people will see it and be attracted to it.”

He also urged that Catholics must “return” to the thinking of “early Christians,” knowing full well that the world would see them as regressive.

He went on to invoke the famous G.K. Chesterton quote which says Christians “go gaily into the dark.”

He said: “Now maybe we have to change that to ‘Christians go cheerfully into the dark’ because of the way that word has been distorted.

“But Chesterton was right,” he added, “a down-faced, angry Christian fulminating at the world is not going to be a good instrument of evangelization.

“We need that trust and confidence in God that St. Thérèse had and showed us so magnificently. We need that now and to try to live it, and we can! God’s grace will make it possible.”

In a July article written by Paul Scalia – a Catholic priest, ‘ex-gay’ group chair, and son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – he denied that it is possible for a person to have a sexual orientation other than towards “the one-flesh union of marriage”.

He said:  “Either our sexuality is oriented in a certain direction (i.e. toward the one-flesh union of marriage), or it is not. We cannot speak of more than one sexual ‘orientation’ any more than we can think of the sun rising in more than one place (i.e. the orient).”