DECEMBER 1, 2015
Quo Vadis, Papa Francisco?
20 – AWARDED “2015 PERSON OF THE YEAR” BY “PETA”, PEOPLE FOR THE ETHICAL TREATMENT OF ANIMALS
It is no honour for a Pope to be awarded recognition by an organization like PETA whose values are inimical to Christianity*.
Pope Francis Is PETA’s Person of the Year
By Daniel White, TIME magazine, December 1, 2015
He’s named after the patron saint of animals.
Pope Francis has been selected as person of the year by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA picked the Holy See for his 2015 encyclical Laudato si’, in which Pope Francis called on the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide to treat animals with kindness and to respect the environment.
“With more than a billion Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis’ animal-friendly teachings have a massive audience,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
Pope Francis, who took his name from the patron saint of animals and the environment St Francis of Assisi, joins previous PETA persons of the year Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Russell Simmons and Ricky Gervais.
Also see PETA’s statement at
Why Is Pope Francis PETA’s 2015 Person of the Year?
Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and actress Hema Malini were earlier PETA Persons of the Year.
On the face of it, Pope Francis’ above (in bold) statement is innocuous, but it must be considered in the light of his many other loose, confusing and often questionable pronouncements, actions, and even encyclicals.
LAUDATO SI’–ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME POPE FRANCIS MAY 24, 2015
QUO VADIS PAPA FRANCISCO 12-CATHOLIC CRITICISM OF ENCYCLICAL LAUDATO SI’
QUO VADIS PAPA FRANCISCO 05-BAPTISM OF ALIENS
QUO VADIS PAPA FRANCISCO 15-THE POPE SPEAKS ON CLIMATE CHANGE AIR POLLUTION AND A HERETICAL PRIEST EVADES PROLIFE ISSUES
*What’s the problem with PETA? See
PROLIFE-03 PETA-HUMANIZING CREATION WHILE ABORTION IS EPIDEMIC
Holy Father, have you seen the obscene 2009 PETA ad. of the nude PETA activist Playboy’s pin-up girl Joanna Krupa “concealing” her nipples and crotch with a CRUCIFIX?
Critics Blast PETA Ad Showing Nude Joanna Krupa Holding Crucifix
By Hollie McKay and Joshua Rhett Miller, December 1, 2009
A new PETA advertisement featuring model Joanna Krupa wearing nothing but a crucifix and a seductive smile is “totally inappropriate” and exploitative of Christian symbols, critics say.
Krupa, a Playboy cover girl and a “Dancing With the Stars” regular, is seen topless and bottomless in the latest spot by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which urges people to adopt pets from rescue shelters instead of buying them from puppy mills.
The Polish-born beauty appears in the ad with angel wings behind her and a digital halo over her head. Her private parts are covered — barely — by a large, well-placed metallic crucifix.
“It’s totally inappropriate,” said Deal Hudson, publisher of InsideCatholic.com, an online magazine. “It’s another instance of disrespect toward Christianity and another example of the kind of abuse that would never occur with any other major religion, because the outcry would be so immediate and so loud that the people behind it would immediately retreat.”
Krupa defended nudity earlier this year, claiming the human body is a work of art.
“I think worrying about going topless in a photo shoot or film is really ridiculous,” she told FoxNews.com’s Pop Tarts column in an exclusive interview. “And the fact is, Pope John Paul said, since we were born naked, it is art, and it’s just showing a beautiful body that God created.”
PETA has a history of using “shock” ads featuring nude celebrities to promote animal rights. According to the organization, up to 8 million cats and dogs are turned over to animal shelters annually, and half of them are euthanized due to a lack of suitable owners. Animals purchased from pet stores, meanwhile, are often from inhumane puppy mills, PETA claims.
Krupa, who bared her body in 2007 for PETA’s anti-fur campaign, led a protest on Tuesday outside Barkworks, a Los Angeles pet store that PETA says “irresponsibly” sells puppies while hundreds of dogs remain in city animal shelters.
Her appearance further enraged PETA’s critics.
“The fact is that cats and dogs are a lot safer in pet stores than they are in the hands of PETA employees,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement. “Moreover, pet stores don’t rip off Christian iconography and engage in cheap irreligious claims.”
“PETA is a fraud,” Donohue continued. “It also has a long and disgraceful record of exploiting Christian and Jewish themes to hawk its ugly services. Those who support this organization sorely need a reality check. They also need a course in Ethics 101.”
Krupa issued a statement responding to the Catholic League, saying: “As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads. I’m doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of God’s creation.”
Krupa isn’t the only Playboy pin-up to stand up for animals recently. Last week the Barbi Twins expressed their disappointment that President Obama did not choose a pound puppy for the White House.
“My sister and I are extremely disappointed in Obama for not adopting a puppy from the pound,” Shane told Pop Tarts. “In addition to saving a dog from getting killed at the pound, it would have been symbolic on all levels to what Obama claimed he was for — ‘change’ — and that he was for the ‘underdog,’ pun intended!”
Catholics upset over PETA’s ‘Angel for Animals’
Joanna Krupa, one of the sexiest women in the world, launched a new campaign for the UK-based charity PETA, called “Angel for Animals.”
In the series of ads, Krupa appears as a naked angel, barely covering her body with a crucifix.
The ads appeared on billboards in American cities and towns, provoking sharp criticism from Catholic communities and organizations.
The New York-based Catholic League published a statement reading:
The fact is that cats and dogs are a lot safer in pet stores than they are in the hands of PETA employees. Moreover, pet stores don’t rip off Christian iconography and engage in cheap irreligious scams. PETA is a fraud. It also has a long and disgraceful record of exploiting Christian and Jewish themes to hawk its ugly services. Those who support this organization sorely need a reality check. They also need a course in Ethics 101.
The Polish model is aware her latest campaign is controversial, telling TV Guide:
When PETA approached me to do an ad again, my team told them we wanted to make sure the concept is controversial, sadly, because that’s the only way to get your message out there. It takes controversial photos for us to think about pressing issues. Otherwise, we would rather go on watching and debating Jon and Kate [Gosselin]’s financial fights or Lady Gaga’s costumes, while millions of helpless animals are dying. We all brainstormed and came up with the church theme, which I love.
She is convinced she didn’t do anything contrary to the basics of the Catholicism, telling TV Guide:
As a practicing Catholic (?????), I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of. I’m doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of god’s creation.
Francis named PETA’s Person of the Year …is PETA as dense as Francis?
December 2, 2015
Maybe we at Call Me Jorge… should look at the bright side. At least Francis wasn’t named person of the year by a sodomite magazine again!
P.E.T.A. Names Francis Person of the Year
Animal rights extremists choose their man.
P.E.T.A. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that treats brute animals as if they were people. Its acronym stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, although one might suspect it is an abbreviation for “Popes” Enabling Theological Anarchy. “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”, is the slogan of the 3-million-member strong organization. Although of course much animal cruelty is in no wise necessary and repulsive to every decent human being, P.E.T.A. takes an extremist, hardcore line that defies sound philosophy. The liberal group has often caused controversy by its shock activism involving nudity and immodesty.
Now the archliberal group has made a choice for its Person of the Year 2015. And it fell — you guessed it — on none other than Jorge Bergoglio, the pretend-Pope from Argentina. The reason for this choice, so PETA, is his environmentalist manifesto Laudato Si’.
On its official web site, PETA explains:
[Francis is] the first religious leader to be picked as PETA’s Person of the Year, a title previously held by Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and Ricky Gervais. Pope Francis was chosen for asking the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics and all citizens of the world to reject human domination over God’s creation, treat animals with kindness, and respect the environment—something PETA views as a call to turn toward a simple, plant-based diet, given the now well-established role of animal agriculture in climate change.
In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, His Holiness talked of the importance of treating animals with kindness, writing, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity'” and “We are not God. … [W]e must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures.”
Pope Francis is also known for his focus on environmental stewardship, and according to the United Nations, a global shift toward vegan eating is necessary in order to slow the most dangerous effects of climate change, including the extinction of wildlife.
As the pontiff said, “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.”
(Michelle Kretzer, “Pope Francis Is PETA’s 2015 Person of the Year”, PETA.org, Dec. 1, 2015)
According to a report by the Catholic Herald, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk stated that Francis has “spread the message of kindness to all, regardless of their religion or species” and that his “animal-friendly teachings have a massive audience” (source).
Clearly, these nut bags have found their man! Congratulations!
PETA did something similar for Pope Benedict too:
PETA exploits Pope in ad
December 6, 2010
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has embarked on a campaign encouraging the spaying and neutering of animals. The leaflet that it is distributing, “Pope Condom,” shows an obviously doctored picture of Pope Benedict XVI throwing a condom to a crowd.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on it today:
There are two problems with this campaign: the leaflet exploits the pope; and it demonstrates an incredible hypocrisy on the part of PETA.
Regarding the former issue, it is hardly news that PETA likes to hijack Christian figures and symbols to pander its message, but to do this to the pope shows how remarkably unethical this allegedly ethical organization really is.
Regarding the latter, the statement accompanying this campaign says, “It’s sinful that millions of dogs and cats are killed every year in animal shelters simply because there aren’t enough homes for all of them.” What is truly sinful is how PETA lies. In 2008, it was disclosed by the Center for Consumer Freedom that PETA kills 95 percent of the adoptable pets in its care. Indeed, PETA delivered the death sentence to 21,339 cats and dogs between 1998 and 2008 at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.
There is something perverse about an organization that has to rip off the pope while violating its own mission on a daily basis, just to stay in business.
The “there will be animals in heaven” controversy
Pope Francis Says There’s a Place for Pets in Heaven, While Conservative Catholics Preach Animals Have No Souls
By Leonardo Blair, December 12, 2014
Pope Francis sent ripples around the world Wednesday when he suggested that pets and other animals have a place in heaven, which is in stark contradiction to conservative Catholic teaching that animals don’t have souls.
Seeking to console a young boy who recently lost his dog, Pope Francis assured him during his weekly address that he would be united with his pet in heaven. “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” the Pope said, according to Italian news sources.
Theologians, however, argued that Pope Francis’ words should not be taken as a doctrinal statement, as he had spoken casually.
The Rev. James Martin*, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America, the Catholic magazine, told The New York Times he believed that Pope Francis was at least saying, “God loves and Christ redeems all of creation,” despite conservative Catholic teachings to the contrary. *The liberal priest editor of a liberal “Catholic” magazine
“He said paradise is open to all creatures,” Father Martin told the Times. “That sounds pretty clear to me.”
The issue of whether or not animals have souls has been a controversial issue in the Catholic Church for a long time, and Pope Francis’ comment appears to have opened up that debate once again.
Now animal rights activists appear ready to take the pope’s endorsement.
Christine Gutleben, senior director of faith outreach at the Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal protection group in the United States, told the Times that “If the pope did mean that all animals go to heaven, then the implication is that animals have a soul. And if that’s true, then we ought to seriously consider how we treat them. We have to admit that these are sentient beings, and they mean something to God.”
Sarah Withrow King, director of Christian outreach and engagement at PETA, told the Times that while she’s “not a Catholic historian, PETA’s motto is that animals aren’t ours, they’re God’s.” King also said she believes the pope’s comment could inspire Catholics to stop eating meat.
Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, told the Times that the pope’s statement is being misinterpreted. “As on quite a few other things Pope Francis has said, his recent comments on all animals going to heaven have been misinterpreted,” Warner asserted.
Pointing to passages in Genesis, Warner noted that the pope’s words: “Certainly do not mean that slaughtering and eating animals is a sin.” Man, he explained, was given “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on earth.”
“While that ‘dominion’ means use for human benefit, it also requires stewardship — humane care and feeding — something all farmers who raise animals practice every day of every year,” Warner added.
Dogs in heaven? Pope Francis leaves pearly gates open
By Rick Gladstone, New York Times Service, December 12, 2014
Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans.
During a weekly general audience at the Vatican last month, the pope, speaking of the afterlife, appeared to suggest that animals could go to heaven, asserting, “Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”
Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, analyzing the pope’s remarks, concluded he believed animals have a place in the afterlife. It drew an analogy to comforting words that Pope Paul VI was said to have once told a distraught boy whose dog had died: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
The news accounts of Francis’ remarks were welcomed by groups like the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who saw them as a repudiation of conservative Roman Catholic theology that says animals cannot go to heaven because they have no souls.
“My inbox got flooded,” said Christine Gutleben, senior director of faith outreach at the Humane Society, the largest animal protection group in the United States. “Almost immediately, everybody was talking about it.”
Charles Camosy, an author and professor of Christian ethics at Fordham University, said it was difficult to know precisely what Francis meant, since he spoke “in pastoral language that is not really meant to be dissected by academics.” But asked whether the remarks had caused a new debate on whether animals have souls, suffer and go to heaven, Mr. Camosy said, “In a word: absolutely.”
In his relatively short tenure as leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics since taking over from Benedict XVI, Francis, 77, has repeatedly caused a stir among conservatives in the church. He has suggested more lenient positions than his predecessor on issues like homosexuality, single motherhood and unwed couples. So to some extent, it was not a surprise that Francis, an Argentine Jesuit who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, would suggest that they have a place in heaven.
In his remarks, as reported by Vatican Radio, Francis said of paradise: “It’s lovely to think of this, to think we will find ourselves up there. All of us in heaven. It’s good, it gives strength to our soul.
“At the same time, the Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us, and that came out of the thought and the heart of God.”
Theologians cautioned that Francis had spoken casually, not made a doctrinal statement.
The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America, the Catholic magazine, said he believed that Francis was at least asserting that “God loves and Christ redeems all of creation,” even though conservative theologians have said paradise is not for animals.
The question of whether animals go to heaven has been debated for much of the church’s history.
Pope Pius IX, who led the church from 1846 to 1878, longer than any other pope, strongly supported the doctrine that dogs and other animals have no consciousness. He even sought to thwart the founding of an Italian chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Pope John Paul II appeared to reverse Pius in 1990 when he proclaimed that animals do have souls and are “as near to God as men are.” But the Vatican did not widely publicize his assertion, perhaps because it so directly contradicted Pius, who was the first to declare the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1854.
John Paul’s successor, Benedict, seemed to emphatically reject his view in a 2008 sermon in which he asserted that when an animal dies, it “just means the end of existence on earth.”
Ms. Gutleben of the Humane Society said Francis’ apparent reversal of Benedict’s view could be enormous. “If the pope did mean that all animals go to heaven, then the implication is that animals have a soul,” she said. “And if that’s true, then we ought to seriously consider how we treat them. We have to admit that these are sentient beings, and they mean something to God.”
Sarah Withrow King, director of Christian outreach and engagement at PETA, one of the most activist anti-slaughterhouse groups, said the pope’s remarks vindicated the biblical portrayal of heaven as peaceful and loving, and could influence eating habits, moving Catholics away from consuming meat — which she asserted had already been happening anyway. “It’s a vegan world, life over death and peace between species,” she said. “I’m not a Catholic historian, but PETA’s motto is that animals aren’t ours, and Christians agree. Animals aren’t ours, they’re God’s.”
Whether the pope’s remarks will prove to be a persuasive new reason not to eat meat, a potentially worrisome development to the multibillion-dollar beef, pork, poultry and seafood industries, remains unclear at best. But they did cause discussion.
“As on quite a few other things Pope Francis has said, his recent comments on all animals going to heaven have been misinterpreted,” Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said in an email.
“They certainly do not mean that slaughtering and eating animals is a sin.” Mr. Warner quoted passages from Genesis that say man is given “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on earth.”
“While that ‘dominion’ means use for human benefit, it also requires stewardship — humane care and feeding — something all farmers who raise animals practice every day of every year,” Mr. Warner said.
Father Martin said he did not believe the pope’s remarks could be construed as a comment on vegetarianism. But, he said, “He’s reminding us that all creation is holy and that in his mind, paradise is open to all creatures, and frankly, I agree with him.”
Laura Hobgood-Oster, professor of religion and environmental studies at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Tex., and an expert on the history of dog-human interaction, said she believed that there would be a backlash from religious conservatives, but that it would take time.
“The Catholic Church has never been clear on this question; it’s all over the place, because it begs so many other questions,” she said. “Where do mosquitoes go, for God’s sake?”
Correction from The New York Times: December 12, 2014
An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died.
The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
(Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.)
An earlier version also referred incompletely to the largest animal protection group in the United States. It is the Humane Society of the United States, not just the Humane Society.
What really happened?
Sorry, Fido. Pope Francis did NOT say our pets are going to heaven
By David Gibson, Religion News Service, December 12, 2014
When Pope Francis recently sought to comfort a distraught boy whose dog had died, the pontiff took the sort of pastoral approach he is famous for — telling the youngster not to worry, that he would one day see his pet in heaven.
“Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” Francis said reassuringly.
It was a sparkling moment on a rainy November day, and the setting in St. Peter’s Square only burnished Francis’ reputation as a kindly “people’s pope.” The story naturally lit up social media, became instant promotional material for vegetarians and animal rights groups, and on Friday (Dec. 12) even made it to the front page of The New York Times.
There’s only one problem: None of it ever happened.
Yes, a version of that quotation was uttered by a pope, but it was said decades ago by Paul VI, who died in 1978. There is no evidence that Francis repeated the words during his public audience on Nov. 26, as has been widely reported, nor was there a boy mourning his dead dog.
The Vatican reaction came a day after Religion News Service debunked the story.
So how could such a fable so quickly become taken as fact?
Part of the answer may be the topic of the pope’s talk to the crowd that day, which centered on the End Times and the transformation of all creation into a “new heaven” and a “new earth.” Citing St. Paul in the New Testament, Francis said that is not “the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.”
The trail of digital bread crumbs then appears to lead to an Italian news report that extended Francis’ discussion of a renewed creation to the wider question of whether animals too will go to heaven, and what previous popes have said.
The story was titled, somewhat misleadingly: “Paradise for animals? The Pope doesn’t rule it out.” It wasn’t clear which pope the writer meant, however.
Vecchi faithfully recounted the pope’s talk about a new creation, and also cited Paul VI’s remark. But the headline put those words in Francis’ mouth, and that became the story.
The Italian version of The Huffington Post picked it up next and ran an article quoting Francis as saying “We will go to heaven with the animals” and contending that the pope was quoting St. Paul — not Pope Paul — as making that statement to console a boy who lost his dog. (That story, by the way, is nowhere in the Bible.)
The urban legend became unstoppable a week later when it was translated into English and picked up by the British press, which had Francis saying: “Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.”
Fueling the meme was the fact that Francis was photographed accepting a gift of two donkeys
from a company promoting the use of donkey milk for infants allergic to cow’s milk — and Francis said his own mother gave him donkey milk as a baby.
Social media and other media outlets then picked up the story, further conflating the statements
and the chronology. It became a hot mess of a story that was sparking yet another theological debate by a pope who was known for prompting controversy.
Television programs discussed the pope’s theological breakthrough, news outlets created photo galleries of popes with cute animals, and others used it as a jumping off point to discuss what other religions think about animals and the afterlife. At America magazine, the Rev. James Martin wrote an essay discussing the theological implications of Francis’ statements and what level of authority they may have. It was all very interesting and illuminating, but based on a misunderstanding.
A number of factors probably contributed to this journalistic train wreck:
First, the story had so much going for it: After all, Francis took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of environmentalism who famously greeted animals as brothers and sisters.
Also, Francis is preparing a major teaching document on the environment, and almost since the day he was elected in 2013 he has stressed the Christian duty to care for creation.
Moreover, the media and the public are so primed for Francis to say novel things and disregard staid customs that the story was too good to check out; it fit with the pattern.
Finally, in most accounts, Francis’ comments were also set against statements by his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who insisted that animals did not have souls. That apparent contrast fit a common narrative pitting the more conservative Benedict against the ostensibly liberal Francis.
That may be true in some areas, but probably not when it comes to animals.
Adding insult to injury, the Times article cited St. John Paul II as saying in 1990 that animals have souls and are “as near to God as men are.” But that, too, was a misquote, as media critic Dawn Eden explained at the website GetReligion.
On the other hand, there should have been warnings signs: Francis has frowned at the modern tendency to favor pets over people, and he has criticized the vast amounts of money spent by wealthy societies on animals even as children go hungry.
In addition, the pope’s huge popularity has led to at least one other instance of myth-making: News reports last year said that Francis was sneaking out of the Vatican at night to feed the homeless around Rome.
The pope personally debunked that rumor in an interview in March, saying the idea “has never crossed my mind” and that “depicting the pope to be a sort of superman, a type of star, seems offensive to me.”
Maybe he’ll have to give another interview to deflate this latest story, and to offer his real thoughts on pets and paradise.
For animals to get to heaven, they must have souls like ours
Do animals have souls like human beings?
Animals have souls–and so do plants.
Does this answer sound like something out of the New Age movement?
Don’t worry–it isn’t. Rest assured we’re not saying animals and plants have souls like ours.
The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational–theirs aren’t–and ours are rational because they’re spiritual, not material.
Animals and plants can’t do anything which transcends the limitations of matter. Although some animals seem clever, they don’t actually possess conceptional intelligence. They can’t, for instance, conceive of the abstract notion of justice.
Animals and plants also lack a moral sense. When you scold Spot for chewing the carpet and tell him what he did was “wrong,” you aren’t assigning guilt of sin to him, since he can’t commit a sin.
Animal and vegetable souls are dependent entirely on matter for their operation and being.
They cease to exist at death.
(There’s no “doggie heaven.”)
Human souls, by contrast, aren’t material. They’re spiritual. Only a spirit can know and love, a spirit’s two chief faculties being the intellect (which knows) and the will (which loves). We know human souls are spiritual since humans can know and love.
We also know human souls are immortal because spirits can’t decompose. They have no parts: Only a thing with parts can fall apart. A spirit is a unit. It has no top or bottom, no left or right, no inside or outside.
Every bit of matter, even the smallest, has parts. The human body can decompose–it’s made of matter, after all–but the human soul can’t. That’s why we say it’s immortal.
A good discussion of the differences between human beings and animals is available in Mortimer Adler’s The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes.
Three kinds of souls
By Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM, January 27, 2010
St. Thomas Aquinas taught there are three kinds of soul:
1) Vegetative Soul: This is the life force of all living things — plants, animals, and humans
2) Sensitive Soul: This is faculty of sensing our environment — animals and humans have this type.
3) Rational Soul: This the immortal soul made in the image of God that only humans have, created and placed in the human at the moment of conception.
The “earth” itself has no soul, and certainly no “spirit”. The living things upon the earth have vegetative soul and/or sensitive soul according to the order of plants and animals. Only humans have rational soul.
The idea of “Mother Earth” as spirit and soul is a silly New Age notion.
Spirit and soul
By Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM, August 27, 2004
[.. As above …] The Rational Soul has the ability to reflect, to contemplate, to be self-aware, to be creative, to love. The Rational Soul is ordered to both the body and spirit. Human beings have all three types of soul.
The Soul is closely related with the body. When we die our souls are temporarily separated from our bodies, but in the end our souls will be reunited with our resurrected bodies.
The terms “spirit” and “soul” are often used interchangeably. In a discussion of the three types of soul, as above, soul tends to imply the material existence of man. Spirit, then, refers to that part of man that is immaterial.
Quoting from Father Hardon’s Pocket Catholic Dictionary on the word “spirit”:
That which is positively immaterial. It is pure spirit if it has no dependence on matter either for its existence or for any of its activities. God in uncreated pure Spirit; the angels are created pure spirits. The human soul (in Aquinas’ terminology, the “rational soul”) is more properly called spiritual. Although it can exist independent of the body, it nevertheless in this life depends extrinsically on the body for its operations, and in the life to come retains a natural affinity for the body, with which after the resurrection it will be reunited for all eternity.
In other words, the “souls” of plants and animals are material and will die. The soul of Man is spiritual and lives forever, but yet naturally ordained toward the body. The human soul is individually created by God in respect to the body it will inform and infused in the body at conception. Human Nature is derived both from soul and the material body which is animated by the soul.
To the above information provided by Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM, I add:
“Ensoulment is the word which describes the point at which the body of the conceptus is said to be informed by a human soul. The notion of a living being having ‘no soul’ is a philosophical oxymoron, since the soul is the principle of life in a material being. There are two basic theories of ensoulment. The first is called the ‘immediate animation, immediate ensoulment theory’; the second, the ‘immediate animation, delayed ensoulment theory’, (also called the ‘serial ensoulment theory’). As the names suggest, the former asserts that, at the very moment of animation (when life begins), the newly conceived human is animated by a rational soul; while the latter holds that the human soul’s informing of the new body is delayed. This latter theory holds that there is a progression from vegetative to animal to human soul as the principal of animation. Common in the Middle Ages, the theory was based on Aristotelian biology and is untenable considering all that is presently known from the empirical sciences. Many learned Catholic authors of the ages of Faith held this theory and advanced it in their writings because it was the accepted biology of the day.”1
“The soul may be defined as the ultimate internal principle by which we think, feel, and will, and by which our bodies are animated.”2
“Thus the soul may itself be incorporeal and yet require a body as a condition of its existence. In this sense St. Irenaeus attributes a certain ‘corporeal character’ to the soul; he represents it as possessing the form of its body, as water possesses the form of its containing vessel.”4
1. (811) (Article: Ensoulment Theories and the Abortion Debate, (09/22/2007), Bro. Andries Marie, Prior of St. Benedict – an Apostolate of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Richmond, N.H., P. 1
2. The Catholic Encyclopedia – Vol. XIV (1912), Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Robert Appleton Co., New York, NY., P. 153
3, 4. The Catholic Encyclopedia – Vol. XIV (1912), Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur, Robert Appleton Co., New York, NY., P. 155
Charism gifts building up the Church
(Excerpt from the Rule of St. Michael)
2004, Order of the Legion of St. Michael
(f) On the Predominance of Sensualism (Empiricism)
[…] St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Man’s natural path to knowing things only his mind can grasp is thorough what he perceives with his senses … All our knowledge originates in sense-perception…”54
[The fact of positive supernatural revelation]. The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; “for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” [Rom 1:20] Once such knowledge is gained, it must be tested and authenticated. Reason informs our sense perception.
This is the role of reason. This is why Vatican I dogmatically proclaimed (De fide) that God can be certainly known by human reason by virtue of creation:
55 The Great Angelic Doctor helps us to understand. He teaches us that in God’s creation of living creatures exist up to three “souls.” The first soul is the “vegetative soul.” This is the life force of all living creatures—plants and animals. Next is the “sensitive soul.” This gives animals the faculty of experiencing the world about them and responding to that world through the senses. The third type of soul is the “rational soul.” This is the faculty that is the “image of God” given only to human beings. Human beings have all three kinds of soul; animals have the sensitive and the vegetative; plants have only the vegetative.
And thus the Catechism concludes:
Feelings or passions are emotions or movement of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil. (CCC 1763) In themselves passion are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. (CCC 1767)
While human beings experience the world about them through the faculty of the sensitive soul (the senses), those experiences must be “qualified” and interpreted by the rational soul (reason). Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, identifies this empiricism (sense predominance), when isolated from reason, as a threat to Christianity 56. […]
54. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiæ, trans. & ed. Timothy McDermott (Allen, TX: Thomas More Publishing, Christian Classics, 1989), 547 (Summa: IIIa, 60 no. 4).
55. First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, 2; quoted in Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, tran. Patrick Lynch and ed. (English ed.) James Canon Bastible (St. Louis, MO: B Herder Book Co., n.d.), 1, 1, §1, 1; Denzinger, 1806; cf. 1785, 1391.
The Latin original of this declaration quoted in Ott:
Si quis dixerit, Deum unum et vetrum, creatorem et Dominum nostrum per ea, quae facta sent, naturali rationis humanae lumine certo cognosci non posse
God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty, by the natural light of reason from created things.
The definition of the Vatican stresses the following points: a) The object of our knowing is the one true God, our Creator and Lord, therefore an “extramundane,” personal God. b) The subjective principle of knowledge is natural reason in the condition of the fallen nature. c) The means of knowledge are the created things. d) The knowledge is from its nature and manner a knowledge of certitude. e) Such knowledge of God is possible, but it is not the only way of knowing Him.
56. See para. 212 to review the quote from Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) from the Foreword of the book, Renewal & the Powers of Darkness.
Pets in Heaven?
By Dr. Richard Geraghty, Ph. D.
A question that comes up frequently is whether people will see their pets in heaven. Now the Catechism of the Catholic Church does not directly address this question. But it does hold principles which lead us in the direction of an answer.
One principle is that all living things have a soul. Here soul is defined as what makes an organic body live. Now when any living thing dies, its soul is separated from its body. In the case of plants and animals the soul goes out of existence. But in the case of man, the soul remains in existence because it is a spiritual or immaterial thing. Consequently, it differs from the souls of animals in two important respects. First, it is the seat of intelligence or reason. For this reason a man is held responsible for his actions in a way that animals are not. Secondly, the soul is immortal. A thing which has no physical parts cannot fall apart or be poisoned or be crushed or be put out of existence. For this reason the souls of the saved will always be aware of themselves as enjoying the vision of God for all eternity. This enjoyment will be the result of having chosen to act on earth in such a way that one did the will of God rather than one’s own will. And the souls of the damned will be aware of themselves as never attaining this vision of God because they have shown by their lives on earth that they did not wish this vision but instead preferred their own will.
In the light of this essential difference between human beings and animals, it would seem that we would not see the souls of our pets in heaven for the simple reason that they do not have immortal souls and are not responsible for their actions. They do not have the intelligence which allows them to choose either God’s will or their own will. There is, then, an incomparable distance, say, between the soul of the sorriest human being who ever lived and the most noble brute animal that ever walked the earth.
Now a child might be heartbroken at the thought that he will never see his pet again. He cannot yet understand this explanation about the difference between the human and the animal soul. I suppose that one could tell the child that when he hopefully gets to heaven, he could ask God to see his old pets if he still wished to. There would be no harm in that. For we know that when a person finally sees God, he will not be concerned with seeing old pets or favorite places but rather will be captured in the complete fulfillment of the joy of which old pets and favorite places are but little signs. We adults know that, even if the child does not.
For more information on how the Church sees animals in the lives of human beings, check the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2415-2418. You will learn, for example, that the Church, while it condemns cruelty to animals as an offense against the dignity of man, allow experiments on animals if done in a reasonable way. Again, you will learn of the tremendous difference that the Church sees between the lowliest of human beings and the most noble of the animals. It will allow animals to be used for food or clothing, but will defend the right of an innocent human being to live against Kings and Nations. The Church will demand that animals be respected as part of creation while at the same time insisting that the dignity owed a human being should never be given to an animal.
Do animals go to heaven?
An apologist gives a Catholic response to a common question asked about our furry friends
A recent comment by Pope Francis in his weekly audience at St. Peter’s Square set the secular media abuzz. He was reported to have said that animals have immortal souls and will go to heaven — contrary to common, long-established theological opinion. The story, it turns out, was almost completely fabricated. The pope simply stated that the entire universe will be renewed, echoing a statement by St. Paul (cf. Romans 8:21). But the news stories still prompted a lively debate in Catholic circles and beyond, especially among pet owners: Do animals have souls? Do they go to heaven?
The animal ‘soul’
The answer to the first question depends, of course, on how we define “soul.” Ancient and medieval writers, both pagan and Christian, often used terms that we translate as “soul” (Greek psyche, Latin anima) to refer in general to that part of an animate (living) creature which sets it apart from inanimate (nonliving) creatures.
In other words, a “soul” is simply a creature’s “principle of life.”
In fact, some biblical texts in the Old Testament seem to apply certain Hebrew terms in a similar way. For example, the phrase nephesh chayah (literally, “living soul”) refers both to humans beings (Genesis 2:7) and to animals (Genesis 1:30).
Ruach, the Hebrew term for “spirit” (and also for “breath,” as the indicator of life), is also applied to both humans and animals in Ecclesiastes 3:21. It’s translated into English as “life breath” in the New American Bible, Revised Edition.
If we think of “soul” in this general sort of way, then, animals and even plants have what could be called a “soul” simply because they are alive. So the ancients spoke of animals as having “sensitive souls” and plants as having “vegetative souls,” though that terminology sounds strange to our modern ears.
The unique human soul
It’s important to note that even if we use the term soul as the ancients did, we must observe (as they did) that plants, animals and humans have different kinds of souls. The plant’s “vegetative soul” (its life principle) enables it to reproduce and to assimilate nourishment for growth. That’s something a rock, for example, can’t do.
Animals can do that plus other things. Their “sensitive” souls allow them to move; to sense and respond to external stimuli; and (for some) to perform rudimentary types of learning and communication.
Even so, the human soul is unique. Of all earthly creatures, only humans are made in the image of God (cf. Genesis 1:26–27) with a soul that is fully rational, able to reason and communicate at high levels, and to choose good or evil with a free will. This is true because God has given the human being an immortal spirit to serve as the animating principle (“soul”) for the body — a spirit that will never cease to exist.
No other earthly creature has an immortal spirit for a soul. Their souls are not immortal, but mortal; it’s their nature to come to an end when they die.
Among earthly creatures, then, only humans are truly able to love in the fullest sense of the word. Humans can know and love God and enter into friendship with him in a way that no other earthly creature can.
Through sanctifying grace, the human soul is capable of what we call the Beatific Vision in heaven. That is, it’s capable of entering so fully into a loving union with God that we can see him and know him as he is (cf. 1 John 3:2).
But lower animals don’t have, by nature, that kind of soul. Because the human soul is something much higher and greater, it’s possible for humans to have a deep friendship with God in a way that other earthly creatures cannot.
Animals in heaven?
So what about the second question: Do animals go to heaven?
Other than the Old Testament passages already noted, Scripture seems to be silent about the matter. Some may view the biblical account of Elijah’s being taken to heaven by a fiery chariot with “horses” as evidence that animals can be in heaven (cf. 2 Kings 2:11–12). But we’re not told enough about the incident to draw any firm conclusions about the matter from that particular passage.
The Church has never pronounced on the question explicitly and definitively. But given that human beings can enjoy the beatific vision and animals cannot, Catholic theologians have commonly and reasonably concluded that life in heaven is a privilege that animals don’t share with us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, taught that animal “souls” cannot by their nature survive death. Unlike human souls, they are perishable when separated from their proper bodies.
Even so, that position seems to leave open the possibility that God might choose to keep at least some animal “souls” from perishing after death, by granting them a privilege beyond their nature — what is known as a preternatural gift.
In any case, we know this much: Because animals can’t have sanctifying grace in their souls to receive the beatific vision, then if any of them do go to heaven, it wouldn’t be for the same reason that humans are in heaven.
What other reasons might there be? Perhaps it’s possible that God will allow the animals we’ve loved on earth to take part somehow in our heavenly life as part of our eternal happiness.
In fact, since God himself takes delight in all the good creatures he’s made, he might give at least some animals a life in heaven for the sake of his own pleasure.
We can only speculate; we won’t know for sure until, God-willing, we arrive in heaven ourselves.
Whatever the case may be, we can be assured that God loves every creature he makes. He loves them even more than we do.
That can be a comforting thought when we’re saddened to lose a dear pet or see some other living creature die. Because God loves them, we can entrust them to him.
Ecclesiastes 3: 19, 20 answers the question about the ultimate eventuality of both man and animals:
“For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them; as one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast; for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
So both man and animals go to the grave after death. However, unlike animals, dead humankind has the hope of resurrection back to life (John 3:16; 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15).
The lie of the 1980s Heaven’s Magic children’s song “Pets in Heaven” of the Children of God cult is exposed:
Do you know that when we go to Heaven
We’re going to see the pets we’ve had.
They’re alive and free waiting for you and me
In that happy land!
When my little dog died, I sat down and cried,
Then I heard a Voice speaking to me.
It said, “You’ll see him again ’cause he’s still your friend
And he’ll always be!”
Chorus: Because there’re pets in Heaven
And together we will play again.
You know there’re pets in Heaven.
I know I’ll see my doggie and be with him then.
Oh, isn’t it so exciting
That to Heaven all our pets will go!
You should have seen what I saw in my dream
About two nights ago!
Well, I saw my doggie and my turtle too
And my pretty little kitty cat.
And the first thing I said when I jumped out of bed:
“Heaven’s where they’re at!”
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