young to respect animals
I read your nature watch on the
children’s page in The Universe (February 9) and I wanted to emphasise
how useful it is to bring up the children to love nature and animals.
We have been so busy destroying plant and animal life and we are
now turning on human life.
I save money for stray dogs, myself,
to try to persuade people to keep them alive.
No respect for God
You are right to be
concerned that the possibility of a human clone being produced is so
close (Comment, March 2). Reflecting on this I was struck by quotes from
the various commentators who showed scant concern about the genetic
tampering of our fellow ceatures but were simply worried about the
implications for humans.
These type of experiments seem to me to
be part of a continuum and reflect a lack of respect for the whole of
God’s creation, whether carried out on humans or other creatures. Are
they not simply, a sign of man’s arrogance, towards the rest of creation
which has led to the abuse and disposal of human embryos and the
ecological crisis itself?
As we approach the millennium, we
would do well to heed Thomas Benny’s words:
“The human community
and the natural world will go into the future as a single sacred
community or we will both perish in the desert”.
Challenge to care for environment
you for the article 'Respect for all creation' (The Universe, March 30)
showing the Pope's deep understanding of environmental issues.
The Pope's ecological teachings are a valuable resource for
teachers concerned to counter New Age environmental spirituality,
criticised by Professor John Haldane in the same edition of The
Such teachers would also do well to consider
the rich heritage of Christian teaching and praxis on the environment.
Francis of Assisi, declared patron of ecology by Pope John
Paul II in 1980, exemplifies a spirituality which embraces love of
creation and concern for the poor.
tradition of simplicity of lifestyle, awareness of the contemplative
dimension of creation, and stewardship is another strand which has
profound relevance for us today.
In his 1996 CAFOD
lecture Cardinal Etchegeray said: "The jubilee should be an occasion for
us all to reflect on what stewardship means regarding our approach to
nature as well as to production and consumption patterns especially in
the wealthier countries."
Such a challenge is too
important to be ignored by the Catholic community and left to the New
See 'Respect for all creation'
Respect the earth
I have been impressed by recent
letters regarding the ‘seamless garment’ of Catholic social teaching.
However, I am surprised that there has been no mention of the importance
of the rest of creation and our role in the ecological crisis.
This week the second European Ecumenical Assembly takes place in Graz in
The theme of Reconciliation – Gift of God and Source of
New Life adopts a seamless garment approach and takes up the Gospel
challenge of “all that keeps us apart and threatens our life as persons,
as communities and as a planet”.
The Graz working paper on
ecology calls on the European Churches to consider bringing theological
and ethical criteria to bear on the debates over genetic engineering and
Among other proposals they are also asked to put
public emphasis on the rights of future generations.
It is good
to see pro-life issues set in a context of justice and peace for the
whole earth community of people, including the unborn, animals, plants
The Graz working paper on ecology is a profound
challenge to our current lifestyles and assumptions about matters such
as transport, agriculture and economics.
Graz should resonate
with our jubilee preparations and provide an ecumenical impetus to bring
planetary stewardship to our local churches.
We mustn’t go to the dogs
in The Universe on June 29 about the dog which attends Mass in
Lancashire shows that the British are obsessed with animals.
is we human animals who need redemption, so there is no place in Church
for other animals. The lives of millions of people in this country are
blighted by dogs so we should at least be able to get away from them in
See Sean, parish’s best friend
Rights of all creation
According to Robert Whelan,
co-author of The Cross and the Rainforest, “animals do not have
responsibilities and therefore do not have rights” (The Universe, July
6). Couldn’t the exact same thing be said of the unborn or the mentally
handicapped of our own species?
We should be wary of moral
meanness in our dealings with the rest of creation.
What about basic right to life
Jack Scarisbrick is correct in his call for the Pro-Life movement to
declare the gospel of life to a world yearning to hear it (The Universe,
It is indeed a strange double standard that the
movements for animal rights, disabled rights, and women's rights often
fail to recognize the most basic of rights - the right to be born.
But perhaps a change in the language we use to declare this gospel might
help. Rather than talking about 'rights' as if they stand on their own,
reference could be made to 'that which is right'.
of debate would in this way shift from abstract - and often impersonal -
concepts, to being rooted firmly in morality. The politics of Right and
Left would become the politics of right and wrong.
stance means respect for life in all its forms, and affirms the
fundamental equality of all human beings before God. We are all made in
God's image and it is from this basic premise that concepts of 'what is
right' must flow.
Movement for Christian Democracy
Take bull by
The World Society for the Protection of Animals is
asking the Pope to condemn the senseless cruel brutality dealt out to
bulls in Spain. The BBC highlighted their sad plight earlier this week.
As part of their fiestas the Spanish people set fire to the horns of the
bulls. They then taunt and shout at the tormented creature as he runs
amok in a state of shock. Many of these festivals are held in honour of
the anniversaries of the Saints.
Is it not time that Church
authorities demonstrated some integrity? How can a Church preaching love
and compassion show such wilful neglect towards other species of God’s
creation? Animals have nervous systems. They feel physical and
psychological pain and stress. Why does the Church stand by and condone
this cruelty by its silence and indifference?
I was baptised and
brought up Catholic. It is incongruous that a religion which shows no
compassion or concern at the psychopathic battering and abuse of God’s
innocent creatures can claim at the same time to represent a Christian
God. Certainly this cannot be the same God that I have come to know and
David Doble RGN
Fr Mule must
learn green gospel
Fr Hadrian Mule deserves our sympathy. His
parish community which is usually obsessed with personal guilt and sex
now has a family of Green Christians and a radical feminist (The
Universe, August 24)!
But perhaps on this occasion he has
not heard the authentic voice of the faithful and missed the Green
message implicit in St James and Deuteronomy.
the latter records the institution of a sabbath for the ox, donkey and
other animals as well as humans. This has implications for our society
which exploits animals in intensive factory farming. Your excellent
article on BSE highlights one result of this failure to consider animal
The letter of James (Chapter 5) gives a potent Green critique of our
over-consuming lifestyles and food politics, warning the rich to
"lament, weep for the miseries that are coming to you". Our relationship
with the whole of creation reneges many Biblical texts and it is a pity
that Fr Hadrian is not alone in failing to see the relevance of
Christianity to ecology.
should be setting a better example to his flock and show concern for the
balance of nature by not using pesticides on church land. Sacredness is
not confined to 'relics and incense' - we stand on holy ground.
A hopeful sign is that he now follows St Francis, the patron saint of
ecology. Can we look forward to some collaborative ministry with the
'Green Family' helping to produce a harvest festival or a service for
the feast of St Francis next month?
Editor's note: A reader's response to the
newspaper's resident fictional diarist.
The bull baiters of Spain should bear in mind the
words of our Holy Father spoken on January 19, 1990: “Animals possess a
soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.
“Animals are as near to God as men are”.
One hopes the
Spanish will speedily cease torturing, baiting and fighting the bulls.
Such cruelty ill befits a Catholic country.
Britain said a big ‘No’
In reply to the
article 'Don't ban cruel fox hunt' (August 17), I want to say that the
results of the recent Gallup poll, which concluded that 81 per cent of
people are against hunting and believe it to be cruel, are to be
However, the belief, as highlighted in the article's
headline, that hunting should not be banned on the basis of the lower
figure of 63 per cent wanting a ban is wrong and needs to be put in
During the 1997 general election, 13.5 million
people voted for the Labour party, resulting in what has been described
as a clear mandate from the people. The Gallup poll revealed that more
than 60 per cent of people support a ban on hunting with dogs.
This represents approximately 25 million individuals which, by any
comparison, translates into the clear and unequivocal message that
hunting with dogs is fundamentally cruel and has no place in modern
Indeed, every year around 100,000 wild animals are
killed by dogs in the name of sport. Foxes, deer and hares are torn to
pieces by hounds, or shot after an exhausting chase.
of animals with dogs does indeed cause unnecessary and prolonged
suffering in that animals such as foxes suffer multiple bite wounds,
savaging and disembowellment before death. Furthermore, it is a sport
designed to provide an unnecessary long chase to provide pleasure and
enjoyment for the so-called sport's participants - a message that the
British people have overwhelmingly accepted.
Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals
God’s creatures deserve respect
In response to the
Questions of Faith article (The Universe, October 19) relating to our
duty as guardians of all God’s creatures, the caption under the photo of
fox hunters grossly underestimates the level of support for the
anti-hunt ideal. I was disturbed by the way it read “some sections of
the population” as if all who disapprove of fox hunting are in the
minority. This is in fact far from the truth.
Being an avid fan
of nature and having concern for all of creation I do indeed believe
that animals are sentient beings and deserve a great deal more respect
than is currently given them. Having seen footage of the treatment of
animals in western laboratories and the costs involved in these outdated
and barbaric practices, I think we would be wise to weigh the moral and
indeed financial costs against whatever it is we in the west seemingly
overspend on our pets.
World hunger is a human disgrace and is
totally unnecessary so I was pleased to hear it reported that more and
more Christians are becoming vegetarian. Literally millions of animals
are cruelly exploited and destroyed each year in the UK alone for
fundamentally no better reason than to perpetuate greed. I for one pray
for the day these practices come to an end.
Miss D Blackmore
Compassion for God’s creatures
express my support for two letters in The Universe – one by David Doble
RGN (August 31) and the other by B C Heaton (September 7), both
concerning the inhumane treatment of bulls in Spain.
of bulls are set alight and shouts and taunts are hurled at the poor
demented creatures as they run around in terror.
Others, such as
chickens and goats, are tormented too.
Chickens, I understand,
are thrown from balconies, and some form of torture is meted out to
Every Maundy Thursday a donkey is terrorised through the
streets of Vilanuera.
I hate Maundy Thursday because of this.
Frequently these disgusting events take place on saints’ days.
What sort of Christianity is this?
I am not a Catholic, but God
is the centre of my life – a God of love and compassion who cares for
all his creatures, who suffer pain and stress as much as we humans.
How can the Church ignore what they know goes on?
of abortion is regularly dealt with.
Why is the suffering of
these creatures not stopped by the Church?
Mrs D Hill
I refer to your article
‘Meat taken out of the frame’* (The Universe, November 2). Aside from
the fact that no animal is killed to produce gelatin – it is simply a
by-product of the meat industry – can anyone explain to me the relevance
of this piece of blatant vegetarian propaganda to me as a Catholic?
Christ was not a vegetarian. He was not even a member of the
Indeed, on one occasion he even used his
divine powers to work a miracle (Luke 5, 1-11) to ensure that a hunting
party enjoyed a successful conclusion.
Vegetarianism is, at
best, a harmless foible of a slightly dotty minority and, at worst, a
There is absolutely nothing to support
vegetarianism in sacred scripture, the living tradition of the Church or
the authentic magisterium put together, not to mention the entire
spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and Saints of the Church!
Editor's note: a
news digest piece about the phasing-out of slaughterhouse derivatives in
A hunter turned defender of beasts
hope that some readers may join with me in asking the saints to cast a
kindly eye on the anti-hunting Bill on November 28, especially those
saints who, often way ahead of their time, understood and respected the
feelings of animals.
St Francis of Assisi (of course) and St
Martin de Porres come to mind immediately, two great advocates of the
respectful treatment of our fellow creatures.
Animals do have
feelings, not our feelings perhaps, but not that different from ours.
They, too, can feel fear, anxiety and pain. Hunting denies that animals
have feelings, or it says that we may safely ignore their feelings; but,
since it was God who gave animals feelings, are not hunters ignoring
Unwittingly, no doubt, at least that is what I tell myself
– I was a hunter myself.
Tolerance is a virtue
Mr Moorhouse is entitled to his opinions
on the question of vegetarianism (November 16). He should, however, be
I have no objection to being regarded as
“slightly dotty” but, “bizarre heresy”? Surely to quote scripture in
support of such an argument is dangerous? There is much in our Church
that our separated brethren regard as not supported by scripture.
Tee-totalism is not supported by scripture but those who abstain do not
attract the same ridicule as vegetarians.
Taking care of creation
As a Patron of
the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, I was deeply disturbed by
the recent letter ‘Vegetarian Myth’.
However we may interpret
Genesis, one of the clearest implications is, surely, that within such
idyllic states nothing that kills is allowed a place!
before Christ’s birth amongst the animals, prophets envisaged a greater
Paradise restored than was ever lost through man’s sin; and in it, even
the lion eats straw as does the ox.
We repetitively pray: “Thy
kingdom come”, yet we envisage it as confined to our own predatory
species. But I ask: Who in their right minds would ever want to enter
such a gloomy hereafter? It would be a veritable purgatory!
Paul – hardly an animal rights advocate! – speaks of the restoration of
all life through the Greater Adam. Indeed, he was conscious of the whole
creation being in travail and looking for liberation through God’s
children; while John envisages the worship of the redeemed being led by
representatives of the animal creation.
Much, admittedly, is
figurative. Nevertheless, the message is clear. And, whereas there was
room in the Old Testament ark for the salvation of animals, the Church –
which claims to be the New Testament ark of salvation – blatantly casts
As a non-Roman, I affirm that all denominations are
guilty of shirking God’s love as only of relevance to fallen humanity;
and if this is spiritual progression then I want no part in it!
We humans must one day appear before the Good Shepherd to account for
our stewardship of His creation. Jesus said: “To whom much has been
given, from them much will be required.” Then Heaven help us!
Rev James Thompson
Animals Padre's website: Animal Padre's Christians Against All Animal Abuse
Protecting animal values
In response to Mr Moorhouse’s
letter, (The Universe, November 16) it should be noted that although
Jesus did not give a detailed prescription on how we should treat other
forms of sentient life, the way of peace and compassion and of caring
for others weaker than ourselves is central to His life.
sayings towards sparrows (Matt 10.29) support the idea that God’s care
extends to the most ‘insignificant’ of creatures.
Do any of your
readers (apart from Mr Moorhouse) seriously believe that the Prince of
Peace would endorse stag hunting or intensive farming?
Vegetarianism is consistent with Man’s stewardship of the planet, and
shows respect for God’s creation.
Moreover, since many times
more vegetarian food can be produced per hectare than meat,
vegetarianism would also further CAFOD’s objectives.
animals (as St. Francis recognised) is essential to the Christian way.
Too biased towards bill
I was very concerned to read of your support, by giving so much
publicity, for Michael Foster’s anti-hunting Bill. Informed argument is
essential to this debate.
At the Countryside Rally last July,
experts like David Bellamy came to support us, as he knows the well
being of foxes and deer depend on hunting.
As far as cruelty is
concerned: those foxes usually caught by the hounds are either old,
injured or ill. Without the hunt the fox would take weeks or months to
The labour party is said to oppose the killing of foxes but
supports abortion. Can we therefore conclude that this Government
considers the life of a fox to be more important than that of a baby? In
giving this Bill your support, are you not also encouraging the same
Mrs Joan C Franklin
Articles: Dogged MP pins ban bid on poster – campaign
offers a ray of hope for female deer and The last hurrah for fox hunters?
Reproduced with thanks
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