- - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sean Smith, reporting for Roman Catholic news site The Tablet, writes that the UK branch of the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has awarded Pope Francis its “Person of the Year” award for 2015.

He is the first pope to have taken the name of St Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals, who was always said that he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of brother or sister.

Now he is also the first Pope to be named PETA’s Person of the Year. 

Pope Francis has been chosen because, according to the animal charity, for asking the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and all other citizens of the world to reject domination over God’s creation, treat animals with kindness and respect the environment – something the People’s Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) views as a call to turn towards a simple, plant-based diet, given the now well-established role of animal agriculture in climate change.

In his 2015 treatise, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis stressed the importance of treating animals with kindness, writing: “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’.”

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