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March 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Name should encourage respect for animals
I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of the animals [“Papal name honors saint who served the poor,” News, March 14]. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of Oct. 4.
On one of his nature walks, St. Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, St. 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 wintertime.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show nonhuman 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.
–Sal Sucher, Seattle
March 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Compassionate act and stance on prophylactics show hypocritical conflict
Before we all lapse into a lovefest about the new pope let us remember that as compassionate as washing the feet of HIV and AIDS patients might be [“Seattle Catholics toast new pope,” page one, March 14], this is the man (and church) that believes that the use of prophylactics, which reduce the transmission of HIV, is against God’s law.
This stance is hypocritical, because by decrying the use of prophylactics, the church helps ensure increasing transmission of HIV and other STDs. Does the church want additional victims merely in order to perform more “good works” for?
–Carl Bloom, Seattle
Pope Francis is a staunch defender of Catholic morals
The election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy is great news.
Pope Francis is a genuinely spiritual soul and a man of deep prayer who tends to accent growth in personal holiness over efforts for structural reform.
An accomplished theologian he is especially well known for his great personal humility. Despite his status as a prince of the church, he chose to live in a simple apartment rather than in the archbishop’s palace. He also cooked his own meals and gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of taking the bus to work.
Pope Francis is also a staunch defender of Catholic moral teaching. He has especially opposed the intrinsic immorality of divorce, homosexual practices, abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and contraception. In 2010, he was one of the first to propose that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children. His doctrinal orthodoxy has always emphasized Christ’s mandate to love: He is well remembered for his 2001 visit to a hospice, in which he washed and kissed the feet of twelve AIDS patients.
The new Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, is a rare example of a humble intellectual. With him guiding the Barque of Peter the horizon looks bright not only for Catholics but for all men of good faith.
–Rick Arlen, Seattle
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