I am not Catholic, but I am thrilled at the message the new Pope, Francis I, is living. He seems to be a truly spiritual man. And he has a sense of humor! When he first spoke to the College of Cardinals after being elected, it is reported he said, "May God forgive you for what you have done."
The world and the church needs humor and humility. It also needs compassion, not displays of wealth and pomp.
His deeds speak louder than words: using public transportation, washing the feet of the poor, walking among the people, living in a simple apartment and cooking for himself in Buenos Aires. Last week, after mass he walked into the crowd and touched and blessed the children and the crippled. He has rejected the fancy vestements. Even his ring is gold plate, not solid gold. He seems to understand Jesus's message and to live it.
He admired St. Francls of Assissi so chose his name. My family and my husband's are Protestant dating back into the late 1500's in Europe. Bjut, we have a lovely statue of St. Francis in one of our flower beds. He is holding a basket that holds seeds for the birds. A squirrel and a bunny are at the hem of his cassock; a bird rests on his shoulder. That is my kind of Saint, a humble man who cares about animals and the least among us.
The North Dakota legislature has before it laws to protect animals. I do not understand those who abuse animals, people, or the environment. They are an alien species to me. ND has had too many cases of animals being neglected and starving or freezing. Or, even worse, being beaten. Why would the members of the legislature not want to protect critters who work for us, who provide food for us, and who trust us and love us?
It was the Nez Perce Chief Joseph who said, "If all the animals were to disappear, mankind would die of a great loneliness." I know I would. Each day we feed birds and squirrels and so enjoy watching them. As I write, our dog sleeps in the chair beside me, and two cats sleep snuggled together on the bed. Many, many species are endangered: rhinos, gorillas, elephants, tigers, wolves, orangutans, big cats of all kinds, whales, and even butterflies and honey bees.
It makes no sense that humans are destroying our fellow inhabitants on the planet. Protecting animals is not a political issue. It is not a denominational issue. It is a spiritual issue and a common sense issue.
I so hope the ND legislators understand the wisdom of St, Francis AChief Joseph, and enact laws to preserve and protect animals of all kinds.