New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Sunday defended the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage, saying gay men and lesbians are “entitled to friendship.”

Dolan made his remarks during an appearance on ABC's This Week.

When host George Stephanopoulos asked Dolan what the church says to gay couples who say, “We love God. We love the church. But we also love each other, and we want to raise a family in faith,” Dolan, who strongly advocated against passage of marriage equality in New York, answered that gay people are only “entitled to friendship.”

“Well, the first thing I'd say to them is, 'I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God's image and likeness. And we want your happiness. But you're entitled to friendship,” Dolan said. “But we also know that God has told us that the way to happiness, that – especially when it comes to sexual love – that is intended only for a man and [a] woman in marriage, where children can come about naturally.”

Dolan continued: “We got to be – we got to do better to see that our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. And I admit, we haven't been too good at that. We try our darndest to make sure we're not an anti-anybody.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

(Related: Timothy Dolan calls gay marriage 'Orwellian social engineering')