The Archbishop of New York says the idea of same-sex partnerships makes him feel “uncomfortable”.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ that “marriage [is] between one man and one woman forever leading to life and love”.

“That’s not something that’s just a religious, sacramental concern,” he went on to say, “But it’s also the building block of society and culture. So it belongs to culture. And if we water down that sacred meaning of marriage in any way, I worry that not only the Church would suffer, I worry that culture and society would.”

Asked if civil unions for same-sex couples makes him personally “uncomfortable,” he replied: “it would”.

Pope Francis last week reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s opposition to equal marriage – but also appeared to suggest provisions around same-sex relationships needed to be addressed by Catholic leaders.

Cardinal Dolan praised Pope Francis for his approach on the issue, describing it as “extraordinarily sincere”.

But he also reiterated the Vatican’s reaction to Pope Francis’ comments on civil partnerships by saying: “It wasn’t as if he came out and approved them.”

Speaking on the ‘Meet the Press’ programme in November last year, Cardinal Dolan said the Catholic Church had been “caricatured as being anti-gay”.