A Publication of
THE CATHOLIC STUDY CIRCLE
FOR ANIMAL WELFARE
From The Ark - Number 190 - Spring 2002
Lay Catholics are repeatedly urged by the Holy Father to take the gospel of the love of God into the world. Members of the Ark are committed to doing just that. Fired by their faith, they have each received a share of God’s deep and infinite compassion: they have been moved to love that which God loves - which is every creature under heaven - for the Creator saw all that He had made, and pronounced it good.
They look into the world into which they must take this love - and find in it horrendous suffering and cruelty. With the Church’s resources and support, they do their utmost to try to alleviate the suffering of oppressed and hungry people, of unwanted babies and discarded elderly. But Ark members then look deeper into the world and see another area of suffering there. They see the range of treatment meted out across the world to other pain - and stress -feeling creatures, the animals and birds.
Turning to the Church for support, these faithful Christians are confronted with a bewildering indifference, even hostility. (Not everywhere - may God be praised - for there are some among the clergy, the theologians, and even the hierarchy, who do not practise this strange disconnection between their response to the suffering of humans and of animals. But they are a minority, and the Church as an institution has not yet ‘widened its tent-pegs’ to include animals within its scope of interest).
Pain - and hope
It is painful to be in this position - heart-broken at the scale of cruelty to vulnerable animal victims of man’s inhumanity - and yet unable to draw support from the Christian community. Secular welfare organisations expect nothing from the Churches, yet they do the very works of mercy which should be the hallmarks of Christianity. Young people see just who are helping the weak and defenceless, and who are not. They make their choices accordingly.
Even if we are to be ridiculed for ‘sentimentalism’, there is one ground on which we cannot be assailed - the pursuit of truth. We are accountable to no sectional interests, no political party, no union or business: when we reveal examples of brutality, it is only for the sake of the victims themselves and their Creator. So let us take courage and continue to stir the Church and the world into accepting responsibility for the relief of suffering of the innocent beasts.
There is cause for hope as, little by little, progress is being made. Each Ark member is an evangelist in his or her own circle of contacts, bringing the truth of the love of God into a world of darkness and indifference - a love, we know, that extends beyond the purely human sphere.
Return to The Ark No. 190
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Deborah Jones at The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare firstname.lastname@example.org
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