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


'Catholic Herald' Debate (1980)Letters

Shocked by a lethargic Church

Yvonne Phillipson accused our Church leaders of a "deafening silence" in the matter of cruelty to animals, and demanded that the Church should cease to bury its head in the sand.

Paul Baker (April 18) sets out a very long and detailed plan of campaign which our Church leaders should put into operation in order to make a widespread protest against the murder of Archbishop Romero.

The implication is that our Church leaders have very little to do and, moreover, are nearly oblivious to what is going on.

I suggest a series of articles on "A Day in the Life of a Bishop" with an article each week on a typically busy episcopal working day.

Yvonne Phillipson, Paul Baker, and others might then get the message - that if they want specialised campaigns organised they should do it themselves.

Nora Purcell


Miranda Scrope feels that a liking for meat does not entail cruelty to animals, but alas, in these days of batteries and factory farms it does. In the Biblical flocks and herds, a sheep could get itself lost, but today in the West millions of beasts have not much freedom to move at all. This is one reason why many people turn away from meat-eating altogether and become, daft or not, vegetarians.

How can we pray to the Lord God of all creation, from Whom all life comes, Whom all creation rightly praises, when we have been party to the tormented lives of His creatures in the name of 'productivity'?

Kill to eat, all right, but let the animals have some kind of natural life first.

Winifred Sullivan


Miranda Scrope's letter contained much truth but its tone was too patronising. "Greed and foolishness" are certainly among the real causes of world hunger", so why not respect self-denying prudence wherever it is to be found?

Pope Pius XII defined the Christian standard of living as one of "reasonable comfort and modest dignity," and the habit of eating meat at every meal is well above that standard.

If everyone who thinks vegetarianism is daft would practice it one day a week perhaps we wouldn't have to be reminded by photographs of starving children that as long as some of us live above the Christian standard many will be obliged to live below it.

Mary Hall


In reply to Miranda Scrope, April 11, at no time did I even suggest that vegetarianism is a tenet of Christianity or man must live by his or her own conscience. What I did say is that I am shocked by the lack of interest and concern shown by the leaders of all Christian Faiths about the cruelty shown to animals by man - in the name of "sport", foxhunting, bullfighting etc. Also, the fact that baby seals are cruelly killed for their skins, some of which are removed before they are even dead.

I would add, however, that not all members of the Society for the Abolition of Factory Farming are vegetarians. The Church should also condemn certain forms of vivisection - the testing of chemicals, liganeths, shampoos etc. I believe all vivisection is wrong, but realise that there might be an argument against this.

Grass has no central nervous system; it lacks all vital organs which animals and human beings have.

I rest my case.

Yvonne Phillipson

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