Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, said Tuesday that opposition to same-sex marriage did not make clerics anti-gay.
"They (homosexuals) are building the kingdom of heaven as much if not better than me," he told France Info radio. "They are struggling to be faithful, to be Christians, each in their own way because we are all poor sinners."
Barbarin said the overall tenor of his comments at the weekend had been misrepresented but stopped short of apologising for his controversial remarks to a Christian radio station on the subject of gay marriage.
"Afterwards they will want to create couples with three or four members," he said. "And after that, perhaps one day the taboo of incest will fall."
The Archbishop's comments have been widely condemned. Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, one of France's few openly gay politicians, said on Monday that a Catholic leader he had previously admired appeared to have "flipped his lid."
France's Socialist government has promised to enact legislation allowing gay couples to marry and adopt children by the middle of 2013.