Pope Francis on Friday praised the head of the Church of England, Justin Welby, for his opposition to gay marriage.

According to the AFP, the pope received Archbishop Welby at the Vatican, where the two chatted, prayed and had lunch together.

Francis urged Welby to continue affirming “the importance of the institution of the family built on marriage, a value that you yourself have had occasion to recall recently.”

In recent remarks before the House of Lords, Welby said he could not support a proposed bill which seeks to make Britain the 15th nation to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry because it would diminish and devalue marriage.

“The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost. The idea [of] marriage as covenant is diminished. The family in its normal sense, predating the state, and as our base community of society, as we have already heard, is weakened,” he said.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio strongly opposed its legalization in Argentina, calling a proposed marriage bill the “Devi's handiwork” and “a destructive attack on God's plan.”

However, Francis' authorized biographer Sergio Rubin told The New York Times that Bergoglio wanted the Catholic church to back civil unions as a “lesser of two evils” compromise.