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From 10 July 2005 Issue

What Happened to the Cat in Catholic?

Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI's well-known love of stray cats apparently is not shared by the Dominican Nuns of the Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx, New York. The Mother Superior has ordered the removal of seven feral cats who are almost all neutered, rabies vaccinated and have lived on the monastery's five acres for the past eight years. In a decision backed by the Archdiocese of NY, the plan is to first try to force the cats to leave by withholding all food and starving them. Then if they don't go on their own, the resident Sisters will trap them and hand them over to the city. Shelter workers would be forced to euthanize the cats because they are feral and unadoptable and have nowhere else to be placed.

The Vicar of the Religious Office of the Archdiocese, Sister Helen C., stated, "my compassion does not extend to these animals" and "they will be removed eventually, one way or another."

"The plan is not only cruel for depriving these cats of their long-time home and causing their suffering and likely deaths. It is ineffective feral cat population control" said Bryan Kortis the Executive Director of Neighborhood Cats, Inc., a leading feral cat organization and a member of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. "Maintaining neutered feral colonies, using a method known as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), is the only proven way to reduce feral numbers in the long term. Otherwise, new unneutered cats will simply replace the ones removed and the cycle of suffering and killing will go on indefinitely."

Over the past eight years, at their own expense, volunteers have removed nine cats from the grounds of the monastery and placed them in homes. The cats too wild to be adopted were neutered and returned, stopping their reproduction, and were then fed by the nuns. Now, however, the nuns and the Archdiocese refuse to even meet with animal advocates to discuss the situation.

To protest this heartless and ill-guided assault on the cats, please contact the Corpus Christi Monastery and the Archdiocese of NY by phone, email or fax (see below). Let them know we expect more from our religious leaders than pointless cruelty towards innocent animals.

Corpus Christi Monastery
phone: 718-328-6996
fax: 718-328-1974
email: nunsop.bronx2@verizon.net 

Archdiocese of NY
phone: 212-371-1000 (ask for Public Relations or Vicar of the Religious Office)
fax: 212-826-6020
email: (not given)

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