The Pope has defended the church’s prohibition on homosexuality claiming Catholicism is not a collection of “nos.”

Pope Benedict XVI backed church bans on gay marriage, abortion and contraception in an interview on German television and Vatican Radio, claiming the rules reflect positive values.

He said: “Christianity, Catholicism, isn’t a collection of prohibitions.

“It’s a positive option, we’ve heard so much about what is not allowed that now it’s time to say we have a positive idea.”

On the subject of gay marriage he said: “It’s important to stress what we want, we can also see why we don’t want something. We need to see and reflect the fact that it’s not a Catholic invention that man and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: all cultures know this.”

He also defended the Church’s stance on contraception in regards to problems with AIDS in Africa, claiming they are offering treatment and education too, Reuters news agency reports.