Pope Benedict XVI on Monday warned that gay marriage threatens humanity, Reuters reported.

The pope told diplomats from nearly 180 countries accredited to the Vatican that children need proper “settings” and that “pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman.”

“This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself,” he said.

“The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue,” Benedict added.

The Holy Father has previously rallied against the legalization of gay marriage in Europe and elsewhere.

(Related: Pope Benedict anti-gay marriage speech cut short by freak storm.)

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that gay sex is sinful, but a homosexual orientation is not necessarily so.

The pope will elevate New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, to cardinal at a ceremony in Rome on February 18.