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


'Catholic Herald' debate (1982)Letters

Church silence over cruelty to animals

I was very pleased to see Vivien Clifford's excellent article "Animal Liberation Now - tomorrow may well be too late", Oct 8.

Why is the Church so silent in its condemnation of animal abuse? Surely everything that breathes has a soul, or does the Church consider itself to be above living creatures because they have no voice?

The animals stoned to death at carnivals in Spain is a prime example of man's callousness. These carnivals only continue in the name of 'tradition' and where were the local priests in allowing these rituals to continue?

In all the years I have attended Church services, never once have I heard prayers being offered up for animals.

The breakdown in moral society today stems from the fact that love for humans as well as animals, not to mention respect, isn't instilled and the sooner the Church includes animal suffering in its denunciation of human suffering, society would be a more caring place.

Sharon Hallet

Congratulations. At last we have an article on animal liberation in a Catholic newspaper, Oct 8. I was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, but never cared much for any religion or philosophy which fails to extend its compassion to all creatures on this planet. Is the tide turning?

The Church of England is already involved in the politics of disarmament and the Government's housing policies. Let the Catholic Church be in the forefront of the struggle for rights for non-humans.

While the fight against vivisection, factory farming, hunting and all other forms of animal abuse in this country must be stepped up we must not forget to extend our influence to other countries.

Top of the list comes Spain and Portugal with their obscene bullfights and the stoning of animals for "sport". This could be achieved by a campaign to severely damage the economies of such countries and so force the Governments to introduce legislation to outlaw the worst atrocities.

Ann Chambers

Congratulations to the Catholic Herald for publishing the article by Vivien Clifford on animal rights, Oct 8. With a leader who is such a compassionate man it is clear that the Catholics in this country, and throughout the world should be concerning themselves with the plight of animals who are today exposed to commercial exploitation involving the suffering of many millions of animals.

I sincerely hope that the nuns at Northants will read the excellent article by Miss Clifford and think again about keeping birds that were given wings to spread by God, in conditions which take away all that God gave them.

Animals are at this precise moment suffering on factory farms, in research laboratories and waiting to be electrocuted by animal welfare societies who are unable to cope with the sad remnants of irresponsible pet ownership. The Church must stand up an be counted on this matter or they surely have no right to enter the house of God.

Angela Walder
British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection

I applaud your article Animal Liberation Now - tomorrow may well be too late, Oct 8. At last the Catholic Press is speaking out clearly in defence of the animals. Thank you for the article - please continue to give space to animal welfare.

Anne Spikker

The assertion by Vivien Clifford, Oct 8, that the Church chooses to remain silent over the torture of sentient creatures is not true.

God's Animals by the late Father Ambrose Agius, OSB is still available from the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare. However it is due to failure of the priests to teach that the pulpit is silent.

JJ O'Connor

Vivien Clifford replies: With respect to the late good Father Ambrose his publication existed before mass laboratory cruelties to animals took place. It is a guide only and, although valuable, not, sadly, an effective one. JJ O'Connor, in whom I am well pleased, takes to hair splitting. The clergy surely are, or should be, the body of Christ's Church. I repeat - let the Church speak out for animal liberation - Now!

How we agree with Vivien Clifford's article on Animal Liberation, Oct 8.

When we joyfully joined the Church 12 years ago, we had no idea of the attitude of the Church towards animals. If we had known, we may have had second thoughts.

However, we remain faithful Catholics, and uphold all the Church teaches concerning God, the human race, morals, etc. Our only stumbling block is the animals question. So much of the joy we had in our faith has gone because of it.

The only thing that keeps feelings of despair at bay, is our belief that the God of Love, who according to Jesus, cares for every single sparrow, wants people like us to work within and outside the Church to change things.

This is why we are members of the "Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare", and "Animal Aid", a national organisation.

Please, fellow Catholics, come and join us. The Catholic Study Circle is at...

Reg and Ann Sims

I was most heartened to see the article on animal welfare in your issue of October 8, since this is an area of life where a tremendous amount of suffering and abuse goes on, disregarded by the majority of people. I fervently hope the Catholic Church will bring this whole subject to the attention of people, whether religious or not.

Miss Wanda Dejidko

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