Pope Benedict XVI has lauded a French rabbi's essay arguing that the government's plans to legalize marriage and adoption for gay and lesbian couples are little more than a backroom deal for “the exclusive profit of a tiny minority.”

Rabbi Gilles Bernheim published his essay, titled Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say, in October. Bernheim also maintained that gay nuptials are often supported out of political correctness.

Homosexuals rights groups “will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse” in a wider campaign to “deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences” and “undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society,” Bernheim wrote.

In his annual Christmas address on Friday given at the Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, Benedict applauded Bernheim's essay, calling it “profoundly moving.”

The Holy Father also described marriage equality as a “manipulation of nature” and dedicated the coming year to promoting family values.

Last week, in his message for the January 1 World Day of Peace, Benedict said such unions threaten justice and peace. The comments prompted a small group of activists to protest the pope's views.

(Related: Vatican criticizes French Catholic magazine's gay marriage endorsement.)