In condemning the city of St. Louis for marrying four gay couples, the Archdiocese of St. Louis insisted sex is reserved for marriage.

The city on Wednesday issued the marriage licenses to challenge the state's law prohibiting such unions. The following day, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued the city.

(Related: St. Louis marries four gay couples to “force the issue” of marriage equality.)

In a statement issued Friday, the archdiocese said it was “disappointed” with the city's decision.

“Loving a person does not mean accepting all their behaviors. The Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. Persons who struggle with same-sex attraction must be loved with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. At the same time, the Catholic faith teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality – whether they are homosexual or heterosexual, priest or lay person. Part of the responsibility means understanding that sex is to be reserved for marriage, and that marriage between a man and a woman is the only kind of union from which children can come.”

“We encourage Catholics and all people of faith to pray that our culture will grow in the love of God, and that our actions and laws will respect the laws of nature and its creator,” the archdiocese added.