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Pope Francis will inspire more humane treatment of animals

I was delighted to read that the new pope chose for himself the name of St. Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals ("Pope Francis' calling," March 15). Both Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day Oct. 4.

On one of his walks through nature, Francis reportedly preached to the birds, and he is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local town folk. He got the wolf to quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded the town's dogs to stop harassing the wolf.

In other stories, Francis freed a rabbit from a trap, returned fish that had been caught to their stream and fed a colony of half-frozen bees one bitter winter.

I hope Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all people of goodwill to show non-human animals the respect and compassion they deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their slaughter for food. Joining the Meatless Mondays trend would be a good start.

Bob Cartier, Rockville

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