THE Catholic Church does not recognise same sex marriage but it respects gay individuals.
They, like every human being, are created in the likeness and image of God.
Speaking at Nakayaga in Bua Archbishop-elect Father Peter Loy Chong said the church only recognised the union between a man and a woman as laid down in the Bible.
"The union of man and woman is a reflection of God's love where they are called to procreate and be procreators with God as a sign of His love," Father Chong said. "God gives life and the procreation between man and woman is proof of this function that is only attributed to God.
"There are many ways of expressing God's love and this is just one way of expressing His love and even couples who do not have children are also part of this important function."
Father Chong said the church's teaching relied on marriage and what defined marriage.
"We do not have a definition of same sex union however everybody is made in the image and likeness of God — everybody regardless of being gay, homosexual, lesbian or straight," he said.
"Everybody is made in the image of God and therefore everyone deserves the same respect that is given to someone made in the image and likeness of God.
"The church maintains that union through marriage is for women and men only," he concluded.