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

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Letters
Respecting all of God's creation

Last weekend I was privileged to attend an inter-church Conference in Edinburgh on "The Integrity of Creation". The Catholic viewpoint was put by his Grace Patrick O'Brien, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh.

Despite his assertion that he was speaking with authority, the Archbishop's statements were strongly overlaid with personal opinions which must have distressed and confused many. He proclaimed that he would not pray for a pet dog if it was ill. Why not? What Heavenly Father would not view with compassion a prayer for one of His creatures? For many of those in his audience, whose one faithful companion on earth was a cat or a dog, this was uncatholic, uncaring and thoughtless. What earthly father ignores his child's cry for help for an ill pet?

Secondly, while accepting the integrity of creation in theoretical terms, the Archbishop had clearly not thought through its consequences. Several of the panel plainly felt doubt as to whether there would be animals in heaven, despite God's stated concern for his creatures, from cattle to sparrows - and despite the more normal statement that we don't know, but should we be unhappy without them, they will be there!

Be that as it may, what a compassionate pastor should have told his flock was that, unless we respect God's creatures we may never get to Heaven to solve the problem!

David Paterson

Director, British Veterinary Association Animal Welfare Foundation

Catholic Herald
(17/4/87)

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