As 1.5 million people cheered, Pope John Paul II was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sunday. The beatification, declaring Pope John Paul II as holy, is a major step toward his likely sainthood.
His Holiness had great compassion for animals, and traveled to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, patron saint of animals, to speak on their behalf. He declared that animals "possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren."
A wonderful way for Catholics to honor the life of Pope John Paul II is to live with respect for animals as he requested, remembering that they are, in the words of His Holiness, "as near to God as men are."