The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has described the Government's plans for gay marriage as undemocratic and a “shambles”.
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols made the comments in an interview with the BBC.
He said there was no mandate to enforce same-sex marriage laws.
He said: "There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen's Speech.
"And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation.
"From a democratic point of view, it's a shambles.
"George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre. I think the process is shambolic."
The religious leader claimed that during a "period of listening", those who responded were "7-1 against same-sex marriage".
Speaking to the congregation at Westminster Cathedral during Christmas Eve mass, Archbishop Nichols said: "Sometimes sexual expression can be without the public bond of the faithfulness of marriage and its ordering to new life.
"Even governments mistakenly promote such patterns of sexual intimacy as objectively to be approved and even encouraged among the young."
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury will deliver his final Christmas Day sermon and use it as an opportunity to reflect on the damage to the church's credibility caused by the General Synod's vote against women bishops.
Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral, Rowan Williams will also speak of how he has been inspired by meeting people who have experienced great suffering, such as victims of gang violence.
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