The Fellowship of Life
Sir - Whilst Jerome Flynn's humanitarian invitation to adopt a
vegetarian lifestyle is a welcome initiative, it is unfortunate that the
compassionate case he presents will have little influence on one
particularly large body of opinion on the matter.
The Church has long harboured the notion that it is somehow exempt
from ethical, reasoned and merciful vegetarian argument.
Whilst attitudes are indeed changing and advocacy of this issue
appears frequently in the Christian press, there still prevails a
backward looking and self-serving semanticism, wherby 2000 year old
culturally relevant scriptures are considered to be the only source of
decision forming reference. The fact that the historical Jesus of first
century Palestine performed mystical phenomena with fish is taken as
being sufficient grounds for condoning the animal conflagrations of the
It is far easier to construct a case for human slavery on New
Testament edicts and Christ's apparent acquiescence of the tradition
than it is to promote animal exploitation on "Christian" grounds.
Indeed, Christendom has already managed this feat par excellence before
eventually seeing the light and perversely claiming the credit for its
Even the ascetic vegetarianism of the Benedictine and Trappist Orders
has been compromised by a mercenary involvement in the trade of animal
lives and flesh.
A little publicised Christian vegetarian campaign was initiated only
prior to the first reports of treatable foot and mouth occurrence. The
"Vegetarian Lent 2001" campaign sought to promote reflection on the part
of Christians towards the spirit-filled animals traditionally regarded
as bacon; beef, ham etc. The central argument being that any sincere
religious inclination should be away from participation with the
inherent injustice, violence and seemingly endless bloodletting of the
There has always existed a tragic and needless Christian correlation
with innocent blood-letting throughout history. There seems little point
in attempting to appropriate any type of exalted moral stature in
today's society, when the average punk will have a far greater and more
selfless reverence for animals and their interests than any Cardinal -
most of whom appear bloated de riguer.
Were Christ physically amongst us today, it would be extremely
difficult to imagine him working in an abattoir, or expecting others to
do so on his behalf.
God's love is without limit and his followers would do well to
consider expanding their moral horizons.
Return to Lenten letters (2001-04)
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