LONDON (TheBlaze/AP) — The leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales has urged followers to write to their representatives in Parliament to oppose the government’s plans to allow gay marriage.

In a letter read to congregations over the weekend, Archbishop Vincent Nichols called for Catholics to express their views “clearly, calmly and forcefully.”

Archbishop Vincent Nichols Calls Catholics to Protest Gay Marriage

Photo Credit: AP

Nichols says he is concerned about how a change in the law would affect what children are taught about marriage.

He says he wants members of Parliament to “defend, not change, the bond of man and woman in marriage as the essential element of the vision of the family.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-led government plans to introduce legislation in January to allow gay marriages. Recent opinion polls suggest a large majority of the public supports the change.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols Calls Catholics to Protest Gay Marriage

Pope Benedict XVI gestures as he prays with the ecumenical christian community of Taize during their European meeting, on December 29, 2012, in St.Peter’s square at the Vatican. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

As England prepares for a debate surrounding same-sex marriage, France, too, has had recent protests surrounding the controversial subject. After thousands of Catholics amassed for large-scale protests against gay unions in November, a human rights group called “FEMEN” took to the streets of Paris, going topless and wearing nun habits in support of same-sex marriage.

This latest push against homosexual unions on the part of Archbishop Nichols comes after Pope Benedict XVI used his Christmas message to defend traditional marriage. The Catholic Church continues to push back against movements in favor of gay unions across the globe.

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