LE MONDE, LE PARISIEN (France)
PARIS - On August 15, a controversial "Prayer for France" will be read out at French Catholic churches, reviving a centuries old tradition as the country celebrates the Feast of the Assumption -- the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.
The wording of the prayer, which was received by all Catholic churches in France and written by the Catholic Archbishop of Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, has outraged gay rights groups in France.
According to Le Parisien, the preamble of the "Prayer for France" mentions "the government’s future legislative projects regarding the family," encouraging priests to include in their preaching that "children should not be subjected to adults’ desires and conflicts, so that they can fully benefit from the love of their mother and father."
[Using the day we celebrate the mother of a child who's not the son of her husband, to defend the "traditional family," now that's clever.]
For Patrick Sanguinetti, President of the Christian gay rights association David et Jonathan, It doesn’t say so verbatim, but the text clearly opposes civil marriage for same-sex couples. The prayer is being instrumentalized to denounce the French government's future political decisions regarding gay marriage, Le Monde reports. French President François Hollande recently announced plans to reform French family law by reviewing the official position on gay marriage and adoption.
The prayer has triggered different reactions, even among Catholics: at the Saint-Merri church in the Marais district of Paris, Jacques Mérienne, the parish priest, will not read what André Vingt-Trois sent. "We chose to do something different, and write a sermon that includes life testimonies of our parishioners," says the priest.
[I am Catholic and I support #marriageforall! Say no to backwards thinking!]
[So you're not Catholic. #adamandeveandnotadamandsteve]
With this controversial "universal" prayer, the French Catholic Church is reviving a centuries-old custom: the annual practice, implemented by King Louis XIII in 1638, fell into disuse after World War Two.