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A Need for a Compassionate Teaching?

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St. Francis of Assisi

I hope one day that there will be a pope who will write an encyclical re compassion
for animals.  You might think -what's so important about that?  Well, since there
are over a billion Catholics in the world who look to the teaching majesterium of
the Catholic Church for moral guidance, it follows that a compassionate teaching
would have hopefully a great impact on how we view animals and our treatment
of them.  Presently, to my knowledge, there is no official teaching (encyclical)
re compassion for animals.  I am told to look in the Catholic Catechism for the
pitifully small reference to them.

I believe a compassionate teaching for animals would help save countless millions
of animals from unnecessary suffering.   I believe that Catholic "meat" men who
attend horse auctions to buy horses for the cruel slaughterhouses of Canada and
Mexico would think twice about their chosen profession.   I think Catholic owners
of battery-caged chickens would come to realize that this is not the way to treat
laying hens who spend their entire lives - not even able to ever spread their wings
again.  Catholic farmers who force feed their geese by opening their beaks and
pouring grain down their gullets to fatten their livers would see this for the cruelty
it is.  (Chicago's former Catholic mayor saw nothing wrong with foie gras and
made sure the compassionate statute disallowing restaurants to carry this gourmet
item was rescinded.)

Catholic researchers who use captive primates, dogs, rabbits, and mice as well as
other innocent animals in so often cruel ways would come to realize that these
protoculs are not even necessary.  Dr. Chad Sandusky, PH.D of the Physicians for
Responsible Medicine wrote "Animal research isn't just cruel - it's not good science,
nor is it a wise use of resources.  Animals are just not good models for humans.  In
fact, animal tests have never actually been validated - they've just evolved over the
years.  At the same time, our government holds cruelty-free alternatives to impossible
standards." 

If there are any Catholic physicians in the National Institutes of Health, hopefully,
they would change the way lucrative research grants are given - allowing for cruelty-
free alternatives Dr. Sandusky alludes to.  Imagine that for over 50 years and counting-
animal protocul is required.  Just how smart is this?   

I recently wrote Pope Benedict the XVI asking him to write a teaching on compassion
for animals.  It is said that he has a fondness for cats.  Obviously, this is not enough
for him to write a much needed encyclical on compassion.  Maybe I should have
written him about how cats are sometimes used to train technicians on intubation
practices, where the poor cat has trust down her/his gullet 20 times or more a tube-
sometimes causing throat injury and always pain and suffering.  

I received a "standard" reply from him through the Washington Nuncio acknowledging
my small donation in addition to some pius words which did not address my purpose
at all in writing the Holy Father in the first place.  I believe I also wrote the former Holy
Father, Pope John Paul II, and he also too did not address the purpose of my letter.

And why do I consider this important since it should be a no-brainer that all religious
people should realize the importance of being compassionate to animals.  Sadly, this is
just not the case in the Catholic Church because of the "Utility Principle of St. Thomas
Aquinas" which is recognized and accepted by the church.  As the word "utility" suggests,
many Catholics feel that animals were made for our use.  In the opinion I hope of many
of us, this is a perversion of God's instruction to us to be stewards of the earth.  Good
stewards do not exploit. Good stewards treat with compassion their fellow animal living
beings.

I always think sadly how when I attend liturgy in this particular Catholic church, we are
asked to acknowledge each other before the beginning of liturgy.  For me it is just so
superficial.  For the most part, I have nothing in common with most of them- as they have
nothing in common with me.  Most of them are not overly concerned about animal suffering. 
I am.  Most of them sit down to a meal which requires an animal to give up his or her life. 
My meals are not centered on dead animals or even the products of living ones.   Would I
feel differently if there were a teaching on compassion to animals?  Yes, indeed.  I would
feel some unity with my fellow Catholics which is simply not there now.  I would bet that
I am probably in the tiniest minority of Catholics who feel compassion for animals and
their suffering.  I hope I am wrong.

If you are a Catholic and even if you are not, but who feels the same need of a teaching for
compassion to animals, please write or e-mail the Holy father as I have.  Maybe if there is a
large outcry for this teaching, the Holy Father will see the need which is so long over due.  If
over a billion Catholics world wide will change the way they view animals, it may lead to a much
needed lessoning of cruelty and suffering to them.  That is my prayer and I hope it is yours
as well.

 

I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
 

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If you're not familiar with Catholic Concern for A... by BlessUsAll on Thursday, Jun 9, 2011 at 5:21:03 PM
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