Pope Benedict warned Roman Catholics in Croatia on Sunday of the “disintegrating” traditional family in Europe and blaming “secularisation”, among other issues.

On the second day of his trip to Croatia, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism in the Balkans, the pope said an open-air mass for the thousands of followers present and made clear his views.

“Unfortunately, we are forced to acknowledge the spread of a secularisation which leads to the exclusion of God from life and the increasing disintegration of the family, especially in Europe,” he said in his sermon.

Reuters said: “The 84-year-old pontiff’s sermon was the latest in a series of salvos against what the Church sees as growing anti-Catholicism and ‘Christianophobia’ in Europe.”

The day of the sermon was “Family Day” in Croatia, where the 4.4 million population is 90 per cent Catholic.

Other issues the Pope railed against included abortion, cohabitation as a “substitute for marriage,” artificial birth control, gay marriage and a creeping “secularised mentality”.

The Pope has previously said that the existence of gay people threatens humanity as much as the destruction of the rainforests does and that “blurring” genders through acceptance of transgender people would kill off the human race.

However, the Pontiff also argued late last year that in some cases, the use of condoms could be the first step in the direction of “moralisation” of an individual.