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

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'Catholic Herald' debate (1982)Letters

Animal welfare

The Catholic Herald has done a great service by publishing Vivien Clifford's article, October 8, and the letters which it has evoked, on animal welfare, for the indifference of the general public towards animal suffering is a sore blot on our civilisation.

If our religion teaches us anything, it teaches us love, kindness and compassion.

Of all sins deliberate cruelty is surely the most diabolical. Other sins are sins of human weakness, but to inflict suffering on helpless animals is utterly devilish, and no one with a spark of love of God in their heart could commit such acts, or witness them without being moved to anger and action.

The blackest page in man's black history is his barbarous brutality to animals, including his own species.

The early Church prayed for animals in the most solemn part of the liturgy, and once when passing through Spain on pilgrimage I was asked to lead the intercessions at Mass and I used one of these prayers.

I should like to see the whole of the encyclical letter De Salute Gregis of Pope St Pius V published - at least the part in which he condemned bullfights unreservedly.

Whenever I see our present Pope kissing the ground after descending from his plane - an act which is no empty symbolism - I think of that beautiful chapter in Dostoevsky's great novel, The Brothers Karamasov, where the Monk exhorts us to "Love all God's creation . . . love the animals, love the plants . . . ask the birds for forgiveness . . . kiss the earth and love it . . . love all men."

Compassion is indivisible, and we delude ourselves if we think we can have it for our own species and not for the rest of God's sentient creatures.

Constance Madden
(12/11/82)

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