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LE MONDE, LE PARISIEN (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - On August 15, a controversial "Prayer for France" will be read out at French Catholic churches, reviving a centuries old tradition as the country celebrates the Feast of the Assumption -- the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven.

The wording of the prayer, which was received by all Catholic churches in France and written by the Catholic Archbishop of Paris Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, has outraged gay rights groups in France.

According to Le Parisien, the preamble of the "Prayer for France" mentions "the government’s future legislative projects regarding the family," encouraging priests to include in their preaching that "children should not be subjected to adults’ desires and conflicts, so that they can fully benefit from the love of their mother and father."

Choisir le jour célébrant la mère d'un enfant pas fils de son époux pour défendre la famille tradi, il fallait y penser. #Assomption#15aout

— Nicolasbdf (@Nicolasbdf) August 15, 2012

Using the day we celebrate the mother of a child who's not the son of her husband, to defend the "traditional family," now that's clever.

For Patrick Sanguinetti, President of the Christian gay rights association David et Jonathan, It doesn’t say so verbatim, but the text clearly opposes civil marriage for same-sex couples. The prayer is being instrumentalized to denounce the French government's future political decisions regarding gay marriage, Le Monde reports. French President François Hollande recently announced plans to reform French family law by reviewing the official position on gay marriage and adoption.

The prayer has triggered different reactions, even among Catholics: at the Saint-Merri church in the Marais district of Paris, Jacques Mérienne, the parish priest, will not read what André Vingt-Trois sent. "We chose to do something different, and write a sermon that includes life testimonies of our parishioners," says the priest.

Je suis catholique et je soutiens le #mariagepourtous ! Non à la réaction ! #Assomption

— Fabien CHEVALIER (@FabienChevalier) August 15, 2012

I am Catholic and I support #marriageforall! Say no to backwards thinking!

@fabienchevalier Donc vous n"êtes pas catholique. #adametevepasadametdave

— Antoine Ormain (@lysenfleur) August 15, 2012

So you're not Catholic. #adamandeveandnotadamandsteve

With this controversial "universal" prayer, the French Catholic Church is reviving a centuries-old custom: the annual practice, implemented by King Louis XIII in 1638, fell into disuse after World War Two.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

A paper dove reads "Mariupol" at a shelter for displaced children in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine.

Paweł Smoleński

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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