French Catholics marked the Assumption holiday on Wednesday with prayers focused on the family and children that were designed to underline the Church's opposition to gay marriage. A prayer read out in churches across France expressed the wish that children "cease to be the objects of the desires and conflicts of adults in order to fully benefit from the love of a father and mother". The text was produced by the Bishops of France, who are leading opposition to President Francois Hollande's commitment to allow homosexual couples to marry and adopt children. Michael Bouvar, one of the leaders of gay rights group SOS Homophobie, attacked the church's move. "The message sent out by the church is a mask for discrimination and homophobia," he told AFPTV. The prayer was read first at midnight mass at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, attended by nearly 5,000 worshippers ahead of the traditional candle-lit Assumption procession on the Seine river. It was also read out to some 20,000 pilgrims at Lourdes in southwestern France and to thousands of motorcyclists gathered at Porcaro, a tiny village in Britanny where a statue of the Madonna was crowned on the authority of Pope Benedict XVI. Porcaro, where the local priest, Jean-Francois Audrain, rides a 1000cc Kawasaki, has become a place of pilgrimage for motorcyclists from all over France. Raymond Centene, the Bishop of Vannes, said the church would never accept same-sex weddings. "Marriage is above all an institution," he said. "One does not get married because one is in love, above all we get married in the desire to continue life and to create a family." Bernard Housset, the Bishop of La Rochelle who presided over the 139th national pilgrimage to Lourdes, echoed his comments. "You cannot confuse the marriage of a man and a woman with the union of two homosexuals," he said. Opinion polls suggest the church's stance is out of sync with the views of most French people, two thirds of whom back gay marriage. A narrower majority (53 percent) is in favour of same-sex couples having the right to adopt, according to a poll published on Wednesday by digital magazine La Lettre de l'Opinion. The vast majority of the French are of Catholic heritage although only around five percent of the population attend church regularly.Source: AFP << President Mugabe Hopes Census Will Reveal AIDS Toll on Zimba... Research Reveals Acute Stress Alters Gene Activity Control >> Recommended Reading How to Save your marriage You can save your marriage - even when your partner insists on a divorce. READ MORE Genetics of ‘Gay’ Abandon Homoesexuality (or) Same Sex Love is the hottest most discussed human trait. There has been a hunt for a Gaye gene in order to lend credibility to a growing cause. READ MORE India Needs to Move Ahead on Issues of Gay Rights – They Must Have The Right To Marry, Have Families Is there a shift in social attitude towards homosexuals and HIV infected people in India. Find out about this and other aspects in an exclusive interview with Anjali Gopalan of Naz Foundation, Delhi. READ MORE Divorce: Pros and Cons Divorce can be traumatic for children and create a sense of insecurity amongst them. Couples should realize that joined parenting is important even after divorce. READ MORE Is Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married? The stigma linked to staying single is gradually disappearing. More people opt to stay single and many even claim to be happier. But there are both advantages and disadvantages to staying single. READ MORE Prostitution: Fresh Stakes in the Oldest Trade Prostitution has broadened its base to include street prostitution, massage brothels, gigolo outcall services, strip clubs, lap dancing, phone sex, child prostitution and sex tourism. READ MORE Safe Sex Sex is fun but involves health risks such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs or unplanned pregnancy specially in those who have multiple partners or in those having unprotected sex. READ MORE Most Popular on Medindia Sinopril (2mg) (Lacidipine) A-Z Drug Brands in India Calculate Ideal Weight for Infants More News on: Sex FactsProstitution: Fresh Stakes in the Oldest TradeHow to Save your marriageSexual Intercourse FactsSafe SexTop Ten Trivial Sex FactsTop Ten Sex Tips for MenDivorce: Pros and ConsSex NumbersIs Life Better Staying Single or Getting Married?