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"Prayer For France" Angers French Gay Activists

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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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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