The new Catholic archbishop of Brisbane has used his first press conference to make it clear that he opposes civil unions, said the Catholic Church would never ordain women, and that gay marriage was “impossible”.

During last week’s media conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge was asked for his views on controversial subjects, including marriage equality.

“It’s not that the Catholic Church finds gay marriage unacceptable, we simply find it impossible,” he said.

“Don’t call it marriage. If you do call it marriage you run the risk of degrading marriage by reducing it to any one of equally valid or invalid options.”

But when asked whether civil unions were an acceptable alternative, Coleridge seemed just as critical.

“Experience would suggest … that civil unions are a way towards homosexual marriage,” he said. “I am uneasy about civil unions for that reason.”

Coleridge stipulated that he believed discrimination against the gay community of any kind was unacceptable except on the issue of marriage equality.

“You may be talking about love, but nuptial love is a love of a particular kind,” he said.

“To talk about a relationship that is not based upon the difference of complementarity of the sexes and the potential fruitfulness that implies … don’t call it marriage.”

The archbishop did, however, seem to have an open-minded attitude about allowing priests to marry.

“You can’t have the Catholic Church without priests and at this point of the church’s life that means male, celibate priests,” he said.

“The male bit I think, is unnegotiable [sic]. The celibate bit is negotiable but not at this time.”

Coleridge officially starts as the Archbishop of Brisbane on May 11.

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