Pope Francis has attacked same-sex marriage, saying those who support it are attempting “redefine the very institution of marriage”.

Speaking at a mass in Manila, Pope Francis made the comments, despite having recently appeared to be softening his stance on the issue of gay or lesbian couples marrying.

He said: “The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage. These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation.”

The Pope recently said the Catholic Church must help parents to stand by their gay children – but that same-sex marriage “never crossed the minds” of bishops when they gathered at the Vatican in October.

Commenting on the recent shootings in Paris earlier this month, the Pope also said “One cannot provoke; one cannot insult other people’s faith; one cannot make fun of faith.”