PARIS – Warning of their harmful impact on French society, Catholic bishops will join in a national prayer in France next week to voice opposition against same-sex marriage and euthanasia.
They wanted to "raise the consciousness of public opinion about grave social choices," Catholic Church spokesman Monsignor Bernard Podvin said, Reuters reported.
All Catholic churches across France will hold prayers on August 15, to voice opposition to government plans to allow same-sex marriage and euthanasia.
The prayer echoes the defense of traditional marriage by Pope Benedict and Catholic leaders around the world as gay nuptials gain acceptance, especially in Europe and North America.
In a decree issued by King Louis XIII, 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 "throughout their lives, especially in painful moments."
Opposing gay adoption, it says 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 prayer is unusual for French bishops, who usually keep a low political profile.
Same-sex relationship and marriage are totally prohibited in Islam, Christianity and all divine religions.
Islam teaches that believers should neither do the obscene acts, nor in any way indulge in their propagation.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is not a sin, but considers homosexual intercourse as sinful.
In January, Pope Benedict said that same-sex marriage threatened "the future of humanity itself."
In March, he denounced moves to legalize the same-sex marriage in the United States, where President Barack Obama has since come out in its support.
Catholic Church leaders in England and Scotland have spoken out against gay marriage this year after Prime Minister David Cameron and the Scottish regional government both announced plans to legalize it.
Defending the Church's opposition, Lyon Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said marriage was defined at the very start of the Bible as created by God to join man and woman.
"Nobody should be surprised that we Catholics think the first page of the Bible is right, even more so than a parliament," he told Europe 1 radio.
The Roman Catholic Church, which has 1.3 billion members worldwide, teaches respect for individual gays and lesbians but condemns homosexual acts as sinful.
Socialist President Francois Hollande pledged during the election campaign last spring to reform marriage laws and his government has said it would do so early next year.
Opinion polls say about two-thirds of the French support gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage is legal in several European countries, including traditionally Catholic Spain and Portugal.
It is also allowed in Canada as well as in six US states and the District of Columbia.
Hollande has also expressed sympathy for euthanasia, which is not allowed in France, and named a commission to review whether the current law stressing palliative care for the dying needed to be expanded.
Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois discussed the issue with Hollande during their first official meeting in July.
He did not oppose the review but said: "Just because one asks a question doesn't mean one answers it positively."Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. Switzerland and the US state of Oregon allow assisted suicide.