The Fellowship of Life
Year after year, the Genesis verse 9:3 is uprooted from its original
context in an attempt to harmonise slaughterhouse activity with the
Christian path through life. (Agneta Sutton: "Creations that insult
human dignity" - The Catholic Times, August 26).
The divine dispensation received by a fallen Adam and Eve before an
impending ice-age has little relevance in today's affluent European
nations. We have a reluctance to progress from the ancient lifestyle of
those that were taught to aspire towards approximating the vision:
"...Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
Yet the historical Vegetarian movement in Britain was driven by
deeply religious individuals whose concept of "human dignity" extended
to those that were demoralised and degraded through slaughterhouse
A certain incongruity remains between civilised existence and acts of
slaughter which involve throat-cutting. The ethical disparity is evident
within any advanced culture and particularly pertinent to religious
life. Yet theology often lends itself to the reversal of right from
wrong rather than acknowledgement of human fallibility. The Catholic
Dictionary of 1897 was particularly detested by humanitarians for over
fifty years for suggesting: "The brutes are made for man who has the
same right over them which he has over plants and stones."
We have nonetheless made considerable progress in that semi-critics
of vegetarianism are prepared to acknowledge "...sentience and awareness
will be the basis on which others are deemed worthy of respect." Yet the
implications are immense and for many compassionate people the Catholic
Church still appears to be walking backwards.
If we are prepared to compromise the peaceable kingdom on earth for
the sake of sausages or hamburgers then many who would otherwise
consider Catholic spirituality will continue to shake their heads.
It is time the Church understood that there are ethical elements
within society that will not always distinguish between imperfect
witness and the trappings of savagery.
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