I love that Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose a name inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, a monk famously known for his kindness to animals. Since being elected one week ago, Pope Francis has already had an opportunity to show a little canine admiration.
When Italian radio journalist, Alessandro Forlani, showed up with his guide dog, Asià, to cover one of the Pope's first addresses to the media, security guards told him that dogs were not allowed inside the Vatican. But officials eventually let him in and seated the pair near the front row.
After the speech, officials approached Alessandro and Asià explaining that the Pope spotted the Yellow Labrador and wanted to meet both of them.
Walking up to the stage, Alessandro shook the Pope's hand and asked him to bless his wife and daughter. Pope Francis then patted Asià on the head and added, "a special blessing for [your] dog too."
Alessandro was humbled by the welcome and noted that Pope Francis broke the ceremonial rules since their presence on the stage wasn't previously arranged.
Since being elected Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio's every move has been scrutinized. I hope that this modest gesture reflects his compassion and love of animals!