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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals


Selections From The Ark Number 210 - Autumn 2008


Sometimes when enquirers ask: ‘Yes, but what do you do?’ they expect descriptions of welfare shelters, and heroic rescues of abused or feral animals – the sort of thing our speaker at this year’s AGM, Celia Hammond, does so magnificently.

But CCA, while supporting those activities, has other tasks and goals. This issue gives accounts of some of the tasks, all animal-related: presenting awards, arranging retreats, holding services, running workshops, donating grants, corresponding with children, members and enquirers, contacting the media, linking with other church or animal organisations, and more. The goals are specific, and unique to CCA: they are, to highlight the plight of suffering animals within the Church, to research and disseminate authentic teaching on animals, and to present the Church to the world as a body of Christians who truly care for all God’s creatures. Who says we have an easy job?

Yet for nearly 80 years, CCA has been faithfully attempting to fulfill its goals. We are few in number, relative to the worldwide membership of the Church; poor in resources, able to employ only one part-timer; very largely lay, and therefore with limited access to sources of power and influence in the Church. But – we are committed, prayerful, faithful people, whose hearts burn with love and pity for suffering creatures and whose thoughts turn to God in hope and confidence. So how can we fail?

It can be only a matter of time before the Church at large hears the voice ‘of the voiceless’, as Ella Wheeler Wilcox so beautifully put it; before we hear the end of that nonsense that those who care for animals somehow cannot care for people, the unborn, the elderly and so on. So many CCA members belong to a host of other organisations and support a vast number of human as well as animal concerns, as well as often being the very people who do much ‘hands-on’ caring for fellow human beings. Only recently, a Spanish bishop, who should know better, complained at proposed legislation giving primates certain rights, such as to life and not to suffer torture, while linking it with his government’s pro-abortion policies. Can we not support the one and oppose the other? Love, and particularly God’s love, is wide, not narrow; comprehensive, not divisible; so that there is room for both animals and the unborn human. We believe that, and must defend that view time and again, unfailingly. One day, it will prevail!

Personal note: I should like to thank all those who supported my doctoral research into ‘Can there by a Roman Catholic theology of animals?’ which, I am pleased to say, has been successful – hence the ‘Dr’ title now for your Editor. 

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