From Mr John M Gilheany
SIR - Graham Moorehouse (Letters, May 15) need harbour no anxiety that
Catholicism and vegetarianism should somehow be considered anomalous
within the theory that "if it is immoral to eat meat, then Christ was
Perhaps James, the brother of Jesus was merely engaging in sibling
rivalry, and St Peter, whose abstinence from the flesh of animals has
similarly been mentioned in the history of the early Church, should now
be considered unworthy of their traditional place in Catholic tradition?
Maybe the numerous saints (for whom asceticism and reverence for
creation led to contemplative renunciation of cruelty and temporal
opportunity throughout their time on earth) were simply attempting to
outshine one another or usurp the reputation of their Saviour?
The Son of God, let us remember, never claimed to be perfect (Mark
10:18). Indeed, we are invited to improve upon the morality which
prevailed in the first century rather than emulate ancient traditions
such as human slavery which eventually became the everlasting shame of
Our Lord would hardly succumb to a fit of pique at the increasing
numbers of compassionate individuals who have turned their backs on
slaughter during their earthly pilgrimage. Indeed, we have been given
basic spiritual principles of mercy, love, peace, pity and perhaps what
Tolstoy realised to be a religion of "infinite perfecting" rather than
After all, Christ admonished future generations of His followers with
the prophecy: "These things shall ye do, and greater things than these
shall ye do" (John 14:12).
It seems that from those to whom much has been given much will always be
expected, so surely our vast consumer choice of alternatives to animal
exploitation should inspire our daily pursuit of the Kingdom on earth.
Catholic Herald (22/5/09).
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