The Holy Spirit is always working, gently guiding us to live more peaceful,
compassionate lives. I’ve recently learned about many Christian saints who
wanted to live non-violent lives by extending God’s compassion to all of God’s
creatures, even before the word ‘vegetarianism’ came to be. It comforts me to
know that such saints would not eat animal flesh. Some of those saints whose
feast days are approaching are: St Catherine of Siena, St Boniface of Tarsus, St
Rita of Cascia, St Philip Neri, St Clare of Assisi, St Jerome and St Robert
Bellarmine. The information is from the book of Dr Holly Roberts, Vegetarian
Christian Saints,* which has recorded the lives of 150 compassionate saints. Dr
Roberts, a physician, was inspired to research the lives of 3,000 saints by a
university where she did her theological studies. She showed there our DVD
‘Christian Concern For All God’s Creatures’ and gave out our leaflets. The
spiritual wisdom of these saints as well as Dr Roberts’ wisdom and devotion to
uncover the hearts and minds of these wonderful servants’ stewardship encourages
us to follow Jesus’ radical and compassionate lifestyle. Everyone’s faith
With the recent and almost forgotten beef recall (triggered from the HSUS
undercover footage of ‘spent’ dairy cows), health concerns were raised and the
public got to see a tip of the iceberg of the truth. There is more than what the
USDA wants us to know. This animal abuse is common – it only became public
because of health concerns. My local diocesan paper printed most of my letter
saying, ‘Being told that no-one has gotten sick yet is not comforting.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (from eating infected beef) has an incubation period,
before showing symptoms, of years or even decades from ingestion. Church
leaders, politicians and the media, who truly care, should be letting the public
know the truth.’ Compassion for animals should not be only by ‘animal lovers’ or
those who are ‘radical’ in their faith, it should be part of everyone’s walk
with God. God has compassion on every creature, as stated in Psalm 145:9, and
gave compassionate laws in the Old Testament for animals, including cattle. One
of my favorite verses is Hebrews 4:13 saying that we will be held accountable
for every creature.
There are many Catholics, and members of CCA-USA, who are helping, among
others, elephants and tigers confined and daily beaten in circuses; bulls
tortured in bullfights and in Catholic fiestas; hens in battery cages (one
victory, thanks to Peta’s persistance – Mepkin Abbey is closing their egg-laying
facility, where hens never had the chance to walk. Hurrah!); pigs suffering in
factory farms; the trapping and ‘farming’ of fur-bearing animals; dogs and cats
who need help; animals in research labs; and many other animals, fulfilling the
admonition to ‘let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6).
Some CCA-USA news
Veterinary Charity Fund
We’ve helped many people recently with $1,150.00 from our Veterinary Charity
Fund. We only have $5.00 in it presently. Before dispersing funds, I verify the
need and the veterinary clinics/hospitals. Individuals and rescue groups in need
are so appreciative for any help they get from us. Many say that their prayers
were answered and feel that God does care for His creatures. Many are disabled
people whose only friend, giving them unconditional love, is their companion
animal. They often cannot afford to visit vets, or even pay for special food.
Our vet fund desperately needs funds. Ways to help raise funds are:
a) Churches can take up a collection especially around the feast of St
Francis, or any other saint’s feast day, which we will post on our website soon;
b) Schools and religious education classes can make a project to raise
money for the vet charity fund, and/or
c) Ministries, such as Justice and Peace, can help raise funds while
bringing more attention to other animal issues. The National Catholic Rural Life
Conference ties together justice for people with ethical eating. They have
leaflets available from their website.
d) Another way to help raise funds is to have a sponsored Furry Friend
Walk (which God’s Creatures Ministry does every year). All you need are a few
people willing to participate, and a public place, such as a park, to walk, jog,
roller-blade, skateboard, etc. for a couple of miles. Forms can be sent to you a
month before the event for registrants and sponsors. It’s quite easy to do and
everyone has a good time for a good cause!
Christian Concern For All God’s Creatures on-line
Why not share the ‘Christian Concern For All God’s Creatures’ video which
can now be viewed and commented on on-line. ‘Meet’ Deborah Jones, Rev. Frank and
Mary Hoffman, a message from the late Evangelical minister and author, Rev. J.R.
Hyland, Stephen Kaufman, MD, and author Judy Carman. Another on-line video that
is great for environmental advocates from a Jewish perspective is ‘A Sacred
Duty’. It ties in environmental issues with farm animals’ lives, which are part
of the environmental deterioration.
Best Friends Animal Society
Another way to spread compassion for animals is to get involved with Best
Friends Animal Society. The Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion is
still in need of signatures (see the last issue of The Ark). Best Friends will
soon have materials to reach out to Churches. Please visit Best Friends Animals
and Religion Network on-line to view the proclamation and sign if you haven’t
already, and pass it on! While you are there, visit the News section and see the
many articles. One is of our Deacon Joe Dwyer who leads a prayer meeting to pray
for all animals including personal prayer requests. Here in NJ, he has prayed
for deer and ferrets at various events.
Read-a-thon for children on animal theme
The ASPCA is having a ‘read-a-thon’ for children to learn about elephants in
circuses. It is being held from now until December 2008. Not only is it
educational and promotes good reading skills, but proceeds from sponsors can go
to the charity of your choice. Perhaps teachers and others can set up a similar
Details about the ASPCA read-a-thon are at: http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=edu_circus_intro.
Please also check our website periodically for new items to help spread this
holy movement of compassion for all of God’s creatures. There are lots of animal
books for children. Also for adults there is Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the
Way We Treat Animals, by Karen Dawn. Harper ppbs, ISBN 0061351857, 2008, $19.95.
Please send in your membership renewal if overdue. Those who have joined before
2005, please send in a note about when you’ve joined and how long it was for
(lifetime or for a year). Copies of The Ark may be automatically discontinued to
members who have not renewed for some time. Also, I ask again, please consider
raising money in your parish for CCA-USA’s Veterinary Charity Fund which helps
people with veterinary bills (we screen all who inquire and they are so happy to
receive help from us). Contact Jan:
Godscre@msn.com or 973-694-5155.
*Vegetarian Christian Saints: mystics, ascetics and monks, by Holly H.
Roberts. Anjeli Press, ISBN 0975484400, 2004, $20
Best wishes, Jan Fredericks
Go to: Next Article
Number 209 - Summer 2008