Your Holiness -- and I say that in deference to the exalted position you hold among millions of Catholics around the world -- I am upset with your utterance that reinforces the sanctity of marriage and children in juxtaposition to the diminution of animals as pets.
Understand -- I am not upset with you as a standard bearer for the Church's position on the sanctity of holy family. What displeases me, and disappoints me, is a devaluing of love for our unconditionally loving animal friends. Do you not realize the impact of your words upon so many people on planet Earth?
This is particularly ironic, your Holiness, since you bear the name of one who was in communion with the pure hearts of animals -- and who animals befriended because they sensed his own pure heart.
As we walk down this tree-lined path together, Francis, can you feel the trees reaching out to us with their love? What's that you say? "Yes, Michael, I can."
I'm happy for that, Francis, for it shows me you are in tune with the vibration of nature's creation, and that says to me that you have reverence and feeling for all life, which includes human life but does not exclude the other beings who emanate out of God's pure Love. Neither you nor your Church have stood up for the animals. Don't you think it's time?
Do you know the unconditional lovingness of a dog, your Holiness, or a cat, or a horse, or a dolphin?
Do you know the tragedy of a system in America and most other countries around the world that disposes of these creatures in shelters dedicated to killing, rather than adopting? If you've experienced their innate lovingness, and intelligence, and great hearts -- can you not stand up for them too?
Do you not know how they contribute to the loving wholesomeness of human homes -- whether the occupants are married with children, or not? Have you not seen how they heal the hearts of the lonely in nursing homes and among the sick in hospitals? Are you not aware of their bravery and heroism in standing with our soldiers on the fields of war?
They are truly, your Holiness, God's gifts to humanity and the world. They are of inestimable value in the beauty of their own inherent beingness and right to life -- and in the quality of life of humans, who so often suffer with such great complexity of mind. The companionship of these loving souls makes a huge difference in the life of humans. Your namesake, St. Francis, knew this.
And can your heart extend further, your Holiness, to speaking out against the suffering of the farm animals? The huge suffering of the little lambs, and calves, and cows and pigs. And the unspeakable pain the chickens endure, stuffed in cages for life until their execution. Why must we eat them? Why must we torture them until they are slain? When the Bible spoke of our dominion over the animals, surely it isn't speaking of cruelty towards animals, but responsibility and stewardship. And implicit in stewardship is love and caring. Isn't that so Francis?
And in the world of entertainment, can you not speak out against the pain of the great whales, who are confined into spaces that cause them terrible emotional and psychological suffering -- all for the sake of the entertainment and pleasure of the humans who come to see them, oblivious of what they are enduring?
Last but not least, your Holiness, please speak out against hunting. How can people such as you who are representative for the sanctity of Life -- condone the killing of benign and innocent deer, or of noble and immensely intelligent creatures such as elephants?
Francis --your Holiness - I beseech you, and appeal to you -- to become a standard bearer for life! Don't you think that is what the enlightened being whose name you revere -- Jesus -- would want you to become? Not just a sacred representative of humans, but of the creatures who walk and share this Earth with us?
Ah -- it's a beautiful day today, is it not Francis? Can't you feel the great trees on this glorious path we walk energetically embracing us? And do you hear the birds singing their hearts out to us, in celebration of our unity with them and all life? Almost as if the Spirit of God embraces us?
"Yes, I can Michael. Yes I can."
Mike Schwager is a speech writer, media coach and publicist (www.mediamavens (dot) com, and www.TVtraining (dot) tv). He is also host of The Enrichment Hour on WSRadio (dot) com, and editor of the spiritual blog, www.EnrichOurWorld (dot) net. E-mail: email@example.com.