The Fellowship of Life
One senses a collective guilty conscience at work in the Jesuit proclamation that 'Animals don't have rights' (Catholic Times, February 28).
For Catholic theologians to acknowledge such rights would be to admit that animals can be wronged.
Sadly, western society exploits animals vastly whilst Church guidance on these matters is usually lacking or woeful.
Does God not have rights, to have his creation treated with a genuine sense of respect?
The magazine in question was quoted as saying that: "Animals, because they are not persons, do not and cannot have rights".
Anyone who has ever kept a pet on the other hand will have learned that they do possess thoughts, feelings and indeed personalities.
It is here that the "two pronged attitudes" really begin and from where the magazine sought to detract by attacking the animal rights movement.
For pigs are as intelligent as dogs, yet millions are killed every year to satisfy the merciless appetites of religious people.
It is hardly surprising that attempts are made by theologians to rationalise such an unwholesome state of affairs.
Very few Christians would be prepared to cut an animal's throat.
Yet where is the Gospel in expecting others to do this type of dirty-work by proxy?
We may do our best to place violent institutions out of sight, mind, and ethical consideration, but God's love for his creation is in no way diminished by the hardness of human hearts.
As your article mentioned, the Catechism states that "animals are due respect and kindness and should not be made to die or suffer needlessly".
If this conviction were followed through with logic and compassion, then billions of animals would be spared the gruesome fate of the slaughter house every year.
Christianity would be healthier in every respect for detaching itself from worldly tastes that lead only to unnecessary animal sufferings, human ill-health and a questionable spiritual standing amongst adherents of other faiths.
The Catholic Times
Return to J. M. Gilheany: Letters (1994 - 2005)
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