Pope following in St. Francis's footsteps

March 21, 2013

I was delighted to learn that the newly-elected pope chose for himself

the name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of

the animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies

blessing animals on his feast day of October 4.


On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds andis often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town’s sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in winter-time.


I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of

goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse

and slaughter for food at the checkout counter. Joining the Meatless

Mondays trend may be a good start.


Gregory Shirota


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