The French Catholic church will reintroduce a 17th century custom featuring a modernized prayer opposing gay marriage and adoption.
The ‘national prayer for France’ will be read in all churches on 15 August and will form part of a revival of a national tradition which dates from the Rennaissance period but fell out of use after World War II.
King Louis XIII’s decree in 1638 stated that everyone should pray on the day believed to be the assumption of the Virgin Mary to heaven.
In a clear reference to the new Socialist government’s stance on gay marriage, Catholics will now pray that politicians and leaders’ ‘common good will overcome special demands’, including supporting the traditional family ‘throughout their lives, especially in painful moments.’
It also slams gay adoption, saying kids should ‘cease to be objects of the desires and conflicts of adults and fully benefit from the love of a father and a mother.’
Church spokesman Monsignor Bernard Podvin told Reuters they wanted to ‘raise the consciousness of public opinion about grave social choices.’
Newly elected French President FranÃ§ois Hollande has pledged to legalize gay marriage next year.
A statement from Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s office in June hinted that the change may even come this year, along with same-sex adoption.
It would mark a profound change in French society, where more than two thirds of people still describe themselves as Roman Catholic, according to a 2010 survey.
The national prayer follows warnings from Pope Benedict XVI that gay marriage was one of several treats that ‘undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself.’