Pope Francis, accompanied by two Polish youths, uses an iPad to register online for the next 2016 World Youth Day in Poland during the Angelus prayer at the Vatican on July 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI
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Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, began to turn the church's attention toward the need for environmental sustainability. Francis has taken this process much further.St. Francis is among the most popular Catholic saints because of his reputation as a friend of animals.Mainstream Christian thinking about animals is rooted in the Book of Genesis, where God is said to have granted man dominion over all the animals. St. Thomas Aquinas interpreted that verse as implying that it simply does not matter how man behaves toward animals; the only reason why we should not inflict whatever cruelties we like on animals is that doing so may lead to cruelty to humans.To ensure that the sentiment would be noticed, Francis tweeted it.Unfortunately, tens of billions of chickens are being forced to live this way; indeed, mankind's realm is full of unnecessarily suffering animals.If Pope Francis can change that, he will, in my view, have done more good than any other pope in recent history.
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