Pope Francis has given four legged friends across the world an early Christmas present by saying that “Paradise is open to all God’s creatures”.
In his weekly audience in The Vatican, His Holiness quoted the apostle Paul who told a child upset because his dog has died.
The Express reports him saying: “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ.”
His words will please those who were unhappy with the previous Pope, Benedict XVI’s view on an animal afterlife who said non-humans “are not called to the eternal life”.
The Pope has two new additions in his life: Thea and Noah are two donkeys which were presented to him this week by a company that produces donkey milk for babies allergic to other types of milk.
And a delighted Francis revealed that when he was a baby, he too was fed by donkey milk, Pierluigi Chris Orunesu, of donkey farming cooperative Eurolactis Italia, claimed.
“Pope Francis told me today in front of media that his mother regularly gave him donkey’s milk where she could not provide enough breast milk or later on when he was a child,” Mr Orunesu told Dairy Reporter.
He added that the pope was “very happy”.
“I told him he will have two friends for life,” he added.
The company also donated 21 gallons of donkey’s milk to the pediatric hospital in Rome.
The donkeys are off to live in Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer residence 30 miles outside of Rome.
Christian animal lovers will be cheered by the opinions of this pope, unlike two years ago when Pope Benedict claimed that donkeys were not part of the Nativity.
He wrote in a book about Jesus that the traditional image of the stable with the holy family surrounded by cattle, sheep and donkeys was “little more than a myth” and probably inspired by pre-Christian traditions.
“There is no mention of animals in the Gospels,” he wrote.
But the day wasn’t just all about donkeys: a special service in St Peter’s Square was also held where the Pope met and blessed rescue dogs.