A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals
Selections From The Ark Number 217 - Spring 2011
What is special about Catholic Concern for Animals? Why are we not like most
other animal charities? The reason is that they tend to focus on the objects of
human cruelty: the victims – the suffering, distressed or neglected animals
themselves. We have a different focus. We look towards the subjects – the human
beings, the souls who one day must face their Creator and account for their
treatment of all living creatures.
Nature, we know, can give animals a tough deal – early mortality, pain and
suffering. But even there, human beings often have the power and resources to
try to alleviate that suffering. However, it is where human beings are in
control over the lives and quality of lives of animals that concerns us greatly.
We believe that the Creator has invested us with an awesome responsibility for
the rest of creation, and for all living beings who share our planet. We have
such power, and such potential for good and ill.
Moreover we have divine teaching and personal models of behaviour revealed to
us to enable us to make the choices that help to conform us to the image of God.
All should lead us to become gentler, kinder, more compassionate people –
peace-makers, humble, poor in spirit.
Connections and links
That does not square with human cruelty towards other creatures, or with our
neglect of their well-being, or with methods which prevent their flourishing. So
we consider it our Christian duty to direct our efforts to people of faith. Many
of our fellow parishioners have never thought about the implications of their
consumer or dietary choices, or know about the conditions in which many millions
of animals are kept in factory farms and laboratories. Many have never made the
connection between these considerations and their faith, or realise what is
expected of them by the Creator of all. Campaigners for the unborn child often
miss the link between the culture of violence and death for weak, innocent,
vulnerable animals and that which treats the unborn similarly as commodities.
It takes a massive and radical change of gear from considering animals as
resources for our use, instruments for our profit or pleasure, to seeing them,
as St Francis did, as our brothers and sisters, because they and we have the
same Creator -Father. But it is the task of making that gear change a reality
world-wide that we exist. If we can influence the one and a half billion
Catholics in the world today – or even a proportion of them – to move closer to
treating animals with the respect they deserve as beloved creatures of God, we
will have succeeded. Please God we still may.
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