The Vatican’s head of doctrine says critics of his faith’s anti-gay crusade are conducting a “concerted campaign” to discredit the Catholic Church that is resulting in open attacks against priests.

In an interview published on Saturday by Germany newspaper Die Welt, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller likened the sentiment directed at the Catholic Church to that of the persecution against Jews in Europe during World War II.

Archbishop Mueller, who leads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was quoted as saying that those attacking the church borrow arguments used by totalitarian ideologies such as Communism and Nazism against Christianity.

There has been no let up in the Vatican’s homophobic rhetoric of late.

In December, the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper described the efforts of equality campaigners as an attempt at building a communist-like “utopia”.

Just before Christmas, Pope Benedict XVI accused gay people of manipulating their sexual orientation in the eyes of God.