by Dom Ambrose Agius, OSB, MA
(Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, 1970)
Reviewed in the former British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection
journal, AV Times, August 1970 edition:
To those people who regard the Roman Catholic Church as a top heavy
piece of dangerously unsound theological masonry whose attitude towards
animals is epitomised by Descartes' suggestion that animals are like
wound-up bits of clockwork and no more, God's Animals should, if
they are intellectually honest come as a most pleasant surprise.
The author, the Rev. Ambrose Agius, OSB, is well known as the
Chairman of the Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, now in its
36th year, the organisation that has done much to disabuse Catholics of
their right to hold oversimple Cartesian-inspired but unsound
Stamps of approval
In this ten shilling book, which bears the official stamps of
approval, the Nihil Obstets and Imprimaturs that signify
declaration from doctrinal or moral error, Father Agius proves that
there is a far greater wealth of largely unknown and unread equally
respectable Catholic literature that specifically calls for the humane
treatment of animals because they, like man, have been created by God.
The book is well set-out and persuasive. It knocks the bottom out of
any argument that insists that the RCC is, through the writings of its
past and present intelligentsia, manifestly indifferent to the treatment
of animals or that there is a lack of precedent to indicate that a
positively kindly and understanding attitude to animals is morally
obligatory to those of the faith.
It is to be hoped that this scholarly work will gain wide acceptance
and that it will be consulted not only by those who seek to act humanely
but cited in the future whenever the old anti-RCC attitude charges
occur. In view of the fact that much unmerited criticism is levelled
against the whole RCC rather than against individuals who believe
themselves to be expressing official Catholic opinions, Father Agius has
provided his Faith with what appears to be a strong and impenetrable
shield. It will not, I hope, be laid aside to rust - as have apparently
the writings of so many of the learned writers that he cites from remote
antiquity to the present day.
Even though one is obliged to feel that it is the fear of the Law
rather than of God that works consistently in the interests of animals,
and again though one may suspect at times that the slush and
sentimentality so often found in animal welfare literature is not by any
means absent from the religious attitude of the dreary petits
(and petites) religieux, in another context this book can
be said to be an excellent bit of press relationship for that undersold
commodity, God Himself.
Reproduced with thanks.
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