The Bishop of Shrewsbury, Rt Rev Mark Davies, has launched another attack on the government’s plans to introduce equal marriage.

According to the Shropshire Star, Bishop Davies claims it amounts to a “gathering storm for believers”.

Bishop Davies made his latest comments at a mass in Chester involving the Catholic Women’s League and the Union of Catholic Mothers.

He said: “The determination of the present coalition government to legally redefine marriage may soon present new questions of conscience and legal threats to those who continue to profess the truth about marriage as the lasting union of one man and one woman.

“It would be exaggerating to suggest Christians in Britain face persecution. However, it would be foolish to ignore atmospheric changes which may point to a gathering storm for believers.”

Earlier this year, he claimed the move would represent “nothing less than a seismic shift in the foundations of our society”.

In June, Bishop Davies criticised Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, after he stated that religious institutions should be given the right to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples – but that this would not impinge on religious freedom.

According to the Telegraph, Bishop Davies responded by saying: “Experience, of course, might make us cautious of such assurances, even those given by a deputy prime minister, that this agenda will not threaten religious freedom”.

The bishop added: “Today we see a government, without mandate, disposing of any credible consultation, seeking to impose one of the greatest acts of ‘social engineering’ in our history in uprooting the legal definition of marriage.

“Marriage lies at the very foundation of the family.”

Mr Clegg, along with other senior members of the cabinet, have repeatedly stated that no religious institutions will be “forced” into carrying out same-sex marriage ceremonies under the government’s plans.