The French Catholic Church will this week hold a national “prayer for France” opposing same-sex marriage reforms planned by the country’s new Socialist government.

Reuters reports that the prayer, which will read out in churches on August 15, was designed to mobilise Catholics against François Hollande’s (pictured) government, and calls for newly elected officials to “overcome special demands” and support traditional families.

It will also reportedly oppose gay adoption, saying 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”.

Gay French Christian group David and Jonathan strongly criticised the national prayer, which is a centuries-old tradition that was revived this year.

“Most of our members are really upset by this terrible prayer, which reinforces the fears certain Catholics have towards homosexuals,” David and Jonathan spokeswoman Elisabeth Saint-Guily told Europe1 radio.

“France’s bishops, and above them the Vatican, are using homophobic language.

“The Bible says, ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself’. We would like the bishops to apply this maxim. They should love all their neighbours, including homosexuals.”

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced in July that France would introduce legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children from next year.

Gay and straight French couples can currently enter Civil Solidarity Pacts (also known as PACS), but only straight couples can marry.

In January, Pope Benedict said that same-sex marriage threatened “the future of humanity itself”.

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