The French Catholic Church plans to resurrect a centuries-old custom next week with an updated “prayer for France” that includes opposition to marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples.
Reuters reports on the prayer to be read in all churches on August 15, a revival of a practice decreed by King Louis XIII in 1638 that dwindled after Word War II.
“In the text, Catholics will pray for newly elected officials ‘so that their sense of the common good will overcome special demands,’” reports the news agency. “This would include support for traditional families ‘throughout their lives, especially in painful moments.’”
The prayer also says that children should "cease to be objects of the desires and conflicts of adults and fully benefit from the love of a father and a mother." The church will also pray against anticipated reforms to euthanasia in France.
Socialist president Francois Hollande won election in May and pledged during the campaign to bring marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples to the country by early next year. Marriage equality has majority support in France, where most people are Roman Catholic but the culture is deeply secular.
French bishops typically avoid entering political debates, but Reuters reports that spokesman Monsignor Bernard Podvin said the church wanted to “raise the consciousness of public opinion about grave social choices.”
The prayer effort follows the Catholic Church’s outspokenness against recent plans to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Scotland. Pope Benedict XVI denounced the momentum for marriage equality in the United States during a visit of American bishops to the Vatican in March.