The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Letters

St. Francis - a saint for all creatures

"Man was meant to love and give himself to God and to love his neighbour as a fellow creature of God...If we are in love with God, then there is no room for a selfish attitude to God's other children."

So wrote a bishop in his diocesan newsletter. It would be comforting to believe that he was referring to all of God's creation; but experience sadly shows that only man 'merits' the concern, consideration and compassion of a great many churchmen.

If this was not so, how could there still be millions of God's other creatures undergoing painful experimental procedures designed 'for the health and welfare' of man; close and unnatural confinement for the production of food for man, and agonising deaths for the entertainment, or clothing of man?

This Association believes it is time the Church's ministers faced up to their responsibilities with regard to the totality of God's creation - the land, the sea and the sky, and the creatures that share these environments with man. Without them, man can no longer exist. For that reason, if no other, the ecological nettle must be grasped.

October 4 is the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, who did care about the earth and all its denizens. What a splendid opportunity for ministers to waken their flocks to their responsibilities to the earth and its non-human inhabitants.

It is a sad and lamentable fact that many people within the Christian tradition have regarded the right treatment of animals as peripheral or irrelevant to their Christian faith.

However, it is not a peripheral side issue but central to a Gospel which insists that we are morally responsible and accountable beings.

Those people who dedicate their life to the destruction of animal life need to be told quite plainly by churchmen that they are failing in their Christian profession and endangering their own moral integrity.

A number of eminent leaders in the Christian faith are doing so already; how much more powerful their voices would be if they had the backing of the Church as a whole.

(Mrs) B. E. Hardwick,
Secretary, Worcestershire Animal Protection Association

Catholic Herald
(2/10/81)

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