(AoftheANews) – ROME – Reports from the Vatican indicate that Pope Francis has scheduled a stop at a local animal shelter to wash the paws of 12 dogs on Holy Thursday, after washing inmates’ feet at an Italian prison.
Church officials told the AoftheA News Vatican Bureau that Pope Francis is excited to visit the dogs spending the Easter holiday at the shelter, and extend this act of mercy towards them. It’s unsure if he will wash all four paws, or just their front paws.
“His Holiness feels that dogs deserve to be treated this way, as it’s quite evident that Jesus had a soft spot in his heart for dogs,” one official said, speaking under condition of anonymity. “You see in scripture how dogs cared for Lazarus by licking his sores, showing that they lived their Christian faith better than others at that time. You see how the Canaanite woman changed Jesus’ mind when she said ‘even dogs eat scraps that fall from their master’s table’. Plus, it wasn’t that long ago that Pope Francis declared that dogs indeed go to heaven, so it’s entirely appropriate to being Christ, and bringing Christ, to them.”
Another official said the Holy Father believes Christ’s mercy is available to every living thing, including those with mange, hip dysplasia, or worms. “Jesus didn’t come for the healthy, but for the sick. His Holiness reminds us, though, to be wary of those ridden with fleas, for if you lie with them, you will certainly rise with them and be infested.”
Animal activists are pleased with the Holy Father’s plans, and that he will be raising animal rights awareness. Amanda Hugginkhyss, director of “Animals Are People Too”, said it’s a strong sign Pope Francis is making the Catholic Church a more inclusive place. “Is what he’s doing perfect? No, but it’s a start, and like all progressive initiatives, all we hope for is a crack through which we can infiltrate, and then start making our demands for animal rights in the church.”
When asked why cats housed at the shelter aren’t included, one official told AoftheA News: “Cats are evil, that’s why.”
He also confirmed that Pope Francis’ favorite movie is “All Dogs Go To Heaven”, but wasn’t all that impressed with the sequel.
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