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PARIS: The French Catholic Church will revive a centuries-old custom next week with an updated national “prayer for France” opposing the same-sex marriage and euthanasia reforms planned by the new Socialist government.
The prayer, to be read in all churches next Wednesday, echoes the defence of traditional marriage by Pope Benedict and Catholic leaders around the world as gay nuptials gain acceptance, especially in Europe and North America.
King Louis XIII decreed in 1638 that all churches would pray on August 15, the day Catholics believe the Virgin Mary was assumed bodily into heaven, for the good of the country. The annual practice fell into disuse after World War II.
In the text, Catholics will pray for newly elected officials “so that their sense of the common good will overcome special demands”. This would include support for traditional families.
Pope Benedict said in January that same-sex marriage threatened “the future of humanity itself.”
Socialist President François Hollande pledged during his election campaign to reform marriage laws, and his government has said it would do so next year. Polls say about two-thirds of the French support gay marriage. – Reuters