France’s top Catholic bishop has warned against legalising equal marriage, saying that it could lead to a more violent society.

Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris, said to other bishops on Monday that the government’s plans to legalise equal marriage could be the final move towards inciting violence, and splitting society in France.

“This is the way a violent society develops,” said Cardinal Vingt-Trois. “Society has lost its capacity of integration and especially its ability to blend differences in a common project.

“Forcing it through can simplify things for a while,” he said, reports Newsmax. “To avoid paralyzing political life when there are grave economic and social decisions to take, it would have been more reasonable and simple to not have started this process.”

The Cardinal’s comments came at the spring meeting of the French bishops conference, and alongside Monday’s legislative decision to pass equal marriage laws faster than initially planned, and absent full legislative debate.

Citing recent protests against equal marriage which took place during the Senate’s debates around the issue, Vingt-Trois said the government was not listening to French citizens, which could lead to more violent backlashes.

In March, around 300,000 same-sex marriage opponents took part in a huge rally in Paris, it turned ugly when a small group tried to reach the Champs Elysees and tear gas was deployed.

President Hollande’s government gave its formal approval to the bill last November. Despite loud opposition, the bill is expected to pass in the Senate thanks to backing by Socialists and allies.

The lower house approved the legislation in February – with 329 Assembly Members voting in favour of the bill and 229 against – a majority of 100 votes.

Last week a Catholic priest in Argentina was expelled from the church following an investigation after he voiced his support for equal marriage in the country.

The investigation into the priest, Jose Nicholas Alessio, was previously led by the new Pope, Francis, then known as Jorge Bergoglio, and then archbishop of Buenos Aires.