THE ARK – 200TH ISSUE ANNIVERSARY
A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals
Selections From The Ark Number 200 - Summer 2005
The first-ever issue of The Ark appeared in February 1937, a 20-page booklet edited by Dom Ambrose Agius OSB. It was known as the Bulletin of The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, which was CCA’s original title. Readers were invited to enrol as annual members (for two shillings and sixpence!) and there was a brief acccount of ‘The Origin and Progress of the Study Circle’. Part of it ran:
‘The movement began with a little group of Catholics, who had been concerned in [sic] the problem of animal suffering and the various efforts to mitigate and relieve it, and who felt the need of a deepened attention to this matter among the Catholics of Great Britain.
‘The first meeting of any kind was held at 6 Southwick Crescent, [London] W.2, in November, 1929, with the Rev. W.N. Roche, rector of the Church of the Holy Rosary, Marylebone, in the Chair. About fifteen persons were present. The Meeting was concerned chiefly with the possibility of a Catholic Society for kindness to animals.
‘Accordingly a second meeting was held on December 17th, 1929, and another on February 28th, 1930, when a provisional Committee was appointed. ... The object of the proposed Society was declared to be: “To bring our relations with the creatures of God into harmony with His will and purpose for them and us. To try to learn from the Holy Scriptures, the example of the Saints, the rules and customs of the Church, how God would have us think of His creatures and treat them.”
‘Fr Roche without delay took up the question of ecclesiastical sanction for the Society, and approached the late Bishop Bidwell on the occasion of a Confirmation at the Rosary Church. His Lordship was very sympathetic. He said he had wished himself to do something of the kind, and he undertook to bring the matter before Cardinal Bourne. Just before the opportunity for doing this occurred, Bishop Bidwell passed away suddenly. Later on, when Father Roche wrote to the Cardinal on the matter, he received a kind message in reply, but to the effect that the Cardinal did not think a Society was necessary, and commending the RSPCA to the larger support of Catholics. In pursuance of this, Prior Kuypers of Ealing [Abbey] was co-opted to the Executive Council of the RSPCA, and after three years’ service was elected to it. ... After the reply from Cardinal Bourne, on the suggestion of the Rev. Desmond Chute of Rapallo, it was decided to concentrate on a Study Circle to gain knowledge and experience; and a number of well-known priests, regular and secular, kindly helped with advice and criticism, especially Fr. Keating, S.J.’
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