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The Vatican released Pope Francis’s new encyclical on the environment, and it is truly historic. The encyclical, or letter, from the Pope is full of references to animals and calls on all of us to embrace a more humane path. The encyclical is named “Praised Be” (Laudato Si) after St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun, in which the Saint praises God for animals and creation.

In the encyclical, the Pope reminds us, “We read in the Gospel that Jesus says of the birds of the air that ‘not one of them is forgotten before God’ ( Lk  12:6). How then can we possibly mistreat them or cause them harm?”

The Pope also calls on us all to be better stewards of all creation, noting that “[e]ach organism, as a creature of God, is good and admirable in itself.” He condemns the view that humankind has “absolute domination over other creatures” as a misinterpretation of God’s grant of “dominion” over creation.

The Pope notes that “our indifference or cruelty towards fellow creatures of this world sooner or later affects the treatment we mete out to other human beings. We have only one heart, and the same wretchedness which leads us to mistreat an animal will not be long in showing itself in our relationships with other people. Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity’.”

And the Pope directly addresses animal testing, noting “the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that experimentation on animals is morally acceptable only if it remains within reasonable limits [and] contributes to caring for or saving human lives… human power has limits and that it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”

I asked Dr. Charles Camosy, professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University and author of For Love of Animalsfor insight into the significance of this encyclical. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

What moral limits should we consider placing on the market and technology to protect people, creation, and animals?  Should price and efficiency continue to drive animal agriculture?

History shows us that, without protections, an unrestrained market will ignore and even reward the violent marginalization of inconvenient populations. Both human and non-human. In the new encyclical, Pope Francis shows how this is especially true when market forces are married to the imperative to use technology to do things cheaper and faster — regardless of moral cost. The Pope calls us to resist an amoral rush to consume via technology in an unrestrained market. This disconnects us not only from the proper value of the things we consume — and of the people who work to bring those goods to us — but ultimately it disconnects us from ourselves. Consumerism is a soul-crushing practice, designed specifically to leave us unsatisfied so we keep on consuming more and more with no end in sight. While this might benefit the stock prices of big corporations, it kills the human spirit — and, significantly, the wider creation. As Pope Francis says in the encyclical: the ecological crisis is primarily a spiritual crisis. We not only need new laws … we need to become different kinds of people, living our lives is fundamentally different ways. Ways which resist the quick and easy path of consumerism.

What current practices involving animals are inconsistent with the Pope’s vision of our relationship with creation and animals?

In his Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel Pope, Francis almost certainly invokes the plight of animals in factory farms when he speaks of “other weak and defenceless beings who are frequently at the mercy of economic interests or indiscriminate exploitation.” In such farms, technology is used to gain more protein units per square foot, thus making more money for the corporation and cheaper food for the consumer. But this is precisely the kind of consumerist social structure called out more generally in Laudato Si. Indeed, the new encyclical calls for a new kind of “asceticism”: one which cultivates new practices of resistance to “greed and compulsion” and instead seeing creation as something more than merely a set of objects to be “used and controlled.”

Indeed, this is based on the theological idea — taught by both John Paul II and Benedict XVI—that all creation has intrinsic value.  Here are some important quotes from Francis making this point:

“It is not enough, however, to think of different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves.” (#33)

“Where certain species are destroyed or seriously harmed, the values involved are incalculable.” (#36)

“We 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.” (#67)

Creation has “an intrinsic value” which is “independent of [its] usefulness. Each organism, as a creature of God, is good and admirable in itself.” (#140)

If we take the Pope seriously on this idea, Western culture in particular will need to totally rethink its relationship with animals as mere tools or products for us to use in sinful social structures of technological consumerism.

How is the flourishing of animals and creation related to the flourishing of human beings?

Perhaps the central new insight of Laudato Si is something that the Pope calls “integral ecology.” For decades now we’ve heard about the ecology of the non-human, and more recently Catholic theology has spoken of something called “human ecology.” But this new encyclical asks us to think about the interrelated ecology of the human and non-human.

Factory farms, of course, are a classic example of this. The intense and horrific harm done to animals is obvious. But the human harms are terrible as well: too much animal fat in our blood causing heart disease and cancer; all kinds of chemicals and drugs necessary for animals in factory farms getting transferred to human bodies; creation of dangerous superbugs via huge amounts of antibiotics; perhaps the most serious cause of climate change; and much more.

Pope Francis’ integral ecology explicitly “takes us to the heart of what it is be human.” (#11): When we reject consumerism, selfishness, and violence with respect to the non-human, we are then on the way to becoming the kinds of human beings we were created to be. In helping all of creation become happier and healthier, we become healthier and happier ourselves. This is the near-unbelievable good news — the Gospel — of the Christian message more generally. Rightly understood, Christian moral requirements are not a burden, but rather a means for becoming our best and most flourishing selves.



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14 comments on “Pope Francis’s Unreserved Embrace of Animal Protection”

Click to add comment
Linda Marian
1 Years Ago

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Reply
Linda Marian
1 Years Ago

Hello everyone,There is a real spell caster on line that is powerful and genuine, My name is Natasha Bella. i live in UK, and I\'m happily married to a lovely and caring husband ,with three kids. A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce.he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn\'t love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he [email protected]}. So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day.What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn\'t call me for the past seven {8}months,gave me a call to inform me that he was coming back.So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website { http://lovespelldrbrave.weebly.com/} and you can also reach Dr Brave through his mobile number +2348072370762,if you are in any condition like this or you have any problem contact Dr Brave ,{ [email protected] }, Thanks for reading.


Reply
Robert White
1 Years Ago

The pope isn\'t qualified to comment on anything other than exorcism, ritual cannibalism, virgin prayer, angels, demons and what he ate for lunch. Anyone who claims to champion nature while championing human breeding is dysfunctional and delusional in the extreme. It is the press of humanity that is destroying the natural world and human beings who continue to subscribe to the doctrines put forward by this bronze age cult leader know nothing.


Reply
Meredith Liguori
1 Years Ago

Animal Testing is an outdated way to obtain information that is relevant to human populations. Fortunately, science is evolving and so too are the methods that can more accurately give scientists and regulators information on chemicals in our environment. The bad news is that, despite all the advancements, many scientists and companies still use animals in experiments.

Animals do not react similarly to chemicals as humans do, so putting animals through painful and lethal tests is both scientifically and ethically questionable. One modern nonanimal test method includes using human cells from surgical leftovers to create 3D human skin in a petri dish and then testing chemicals on that. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will reform the Toxic Substance Control Act by modernizing chemical testing and I personally support this bill because of that.


Reply
Meredith Liguori
1 Years Ago

Animal Testing is an outdated way to obtain information that is relevant to human populations. Fortunately, science is evolving and so too are the methods that can more accurately give scientists and regulators information on chemicals in our environment. The bad news is that, despite all the advancements, many scientists and companies still use animals in experiments.

Animals do not react similarly to chemicals as humans do, so putting animals through painful and lethal tests is both scientifically and ethically questionable. One modern nonanimal test method includes using human cells from surgical leftovers to create 3D human skin in a petri dish and then testing chemicals on that. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will reform the Toxic Substance Control Act by modernizing chemical testing and I personally support this bill because of that.


Reply
Pamela M Beck
1 Years Ago

I HAVE A DREAM, THAT WE COULD DO AWAY WITH PUPPY AND KITTEN MILLS ... Then the shelters could be used for what they were intended, as a safe haven for lost pets until their family comes for them, or they have to find a new forever home. And pet stores could get back to selling pet supplies.

Many blessings to all who work to make animals\' lives better. We are their only voice. So I am using my voice to post this repeatedly, until it somehow falls into the hands of someone who has the authority and the courage to help us put an end to puppy and kitten mills forever.

PUPPY MILLS ARE GLUTTING THE SYSTEM

We will euthanize thousands of pets today at our animal shelters and city Animal Care & Control facilities. We will euthanize thousands of pets tomorrow too, and most every day. Unless our lawmakers put an end to the mass production of puppy and kitten mills, this pet overpopulation crisis is doomed to increase. We will never be able to "rehome." adopt, spay/neuter or even euthanize our way out of this crisis as long as these mills are churning out pets like they were food animals. This is costing our government millions of tax dollars, which are OUR TAX DOLLARS! And they are being spent to kill pets that the mills are producing. This is a vicious circle that never ends and has become a wasteful sinkhole of our tax revenues that could be better spent elsewhere. The USDA has neglected to regulate this mill production, to the point that we are glutting our own tax system. Our government must know that this can not continue. We The People must demand that our lawmakers vote with us, and not with the Ag Industries, to STOP THIS INSANITY!

I will never understand how the USDA has any business having pets under the same regulations, (or lack thereof), as poultry, slaughter hogs and beef cattle....WE DO NOT EAT DOGS AND CATS IN THIS COUNTRY! They are our pets and to some, our babies! Our government must stop allowing them to be mass produced like they were food animals! And the conditions that we accept as "USDA approved" for these animals to live in, consist of a lifetime of horrific neglect and deprivation! These pets don\'t even get to go to slaughter when they are old enough and fattened up. They live their entire lives in a cage, often left out in all kinds of weather, with little or no veterinary care. The female\'s\' life is spent carrying, nursing, or grieving her lost babies, until she is bred yet again. Then about twice a year, the male shares her cage until mating is complete. Then he is returned to languish in his own filthy cage until it is time to breed again.

This only ends for them when they die, or become "no longer good for breeding". Then they just let them loose in the woods to starve or be killed by a wild animal, or eventually get picked up as a stray, which floods our shelters. What happens to the others is unknown. I don\'t know what, if any regulations exist for their "disposal," but dead animal carcasses have been found on the property of some of these mills.

Unfortunately, the financial influence of the Agriculture business has managed to supersede the horrific conditions of the animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, even the glutting of our own system! IF YOU SHOP AT A PET STORE THAT SELLS PETS, YOU ARE SUPPORTING THIS HORRIFIC CRUELTY!

I guarantee you, if the beef producers were churning out millions of pounds of beef in a year, and we only ate a portion of it, and the rest had to be "disposed of" at great expense to the government, you can bet the USDA would be slapping some major restrictions on beef production. So why don\'t they see that we are euthanizing millions of pets every year, and the puppy and kitten mills are "producing" a majority of them?

IS OUR GOVERNMENT REALLY SO "OWNED" BY THE PUPPY MILL/AG INDUSTRY, THAT THEY BETRAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS, PROPAGATE CRUELTY, WASTE OUR TAX DOLLARS AND GLUT THEIR OWN SYSTEMS? We must find a way to get rid of this horrific business of abuse and neglect! OUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION TODAY!

PAMELA M. BECK


















Reply
Pamela M Beck
1 Years Ago


PLEASE END THE CRUELEST THING, THE ABUSE AND NEGLECT OF PUPPY AND KITTEN MILLS,,,I HAVE A DREAM, THAT WE COULD DO AWAY WITH PUPPY AND KITTEN MILLS ... Then the shelters could be used for what they were intended, as a safe haven for lost pets until their family comes for them, or they have to find a new forever home. And pet stores could get back to selling pet supplies.

Many blessings to all who work to make animals\' lives better. We are their only voice. So I am using my voice to post this repeatedly, until it somehow falls into the hands of someone who has the authority and the courage to help us put an end to puppy and kitten mills forever.

PUPPY MILLS ARE GLUTTING THE SYSTEM

We will euthanize thousands of pets today at our animal shelters and city Animal Care & Control facilities. We will euthanize thousands of pets tomorrow too, and most every day. Unless our lawmakers put an end to the mass production of puppy and kitten mills, this pet overpopulation crisis is doomed to increase. We will never be able to "rehome." adopt, spay/neuter or even euthanize our way out of this crisis as long as these mills are churning out pets like they were food animals. This is costing our government millions of tax dollars, which are OUR TAX DOLLARS! And they are being spent to kill pets that the mills are producing. This is a vicious circle that never ends and has become a wasteful sinkhole of our tax revenues that could be better spent elsewhere. The USDA has neglected to regulate this mill production, to the point that we are glutting our own tax system. Our government must know that this can not continue. We The People must demand that our lawmakers vote with us, and not with the Ag Industries, to STOP THIS INSANITY!

I will never understand how the USDA has any business having pets under the same regulations, (or lack thereof), as poultry, slaughter hogs and beef cattle....WE DO NOT EAT DOGS AND CATS IN THIS COUNTRY! They are our pets and to some, our babies! Our government must stop allowing them to be mass produced like they were food animals! And the conditions that we accept as "USDA approved" for these animals to live in, consist of a lifetime of horrific neglect and deprivation! These pets don\'t even get to go to slaughter when they are old enough and fattened up. They live their entire lives in a cage, often left out in all kinds of weather, with little or no veterinary care. The female\'s\' life is spent carrying, nursing, or grieving her lost babies, until she is bred yet again. Then about twice a year, the male shares her cage until mating is complete. Then he is returned to languish in his own filthy cage until it is time to breed again.

This only ends for them when they die, or become "no longer good for breeding". Then they just let them loose in the woods to starve or be killed by a wild animal, or eventually get picked up as a stray, which floods our shelters. What happens to the others is unknown. I don\'t know what, if any regulations exist for their "disposal," but dead animal carcasses have been found on the property of some of these mills.

Unfortunately, the financial influence of the Agriculture business has managed to supersede the horrific conditions of the animals, the pet overpopulation crisis, even the glutting of our own system! IF YOU SHOP AT A PET STORE THAT SELLS PETS, YOU ARE SUPPORTING THIS HORRIFIC CRUELTY!

I guarantee you, if the beef producers were churning out millions of pounds of beef in a year, and we only ate a portion of it, and the rest had to be "disposed of" at great expense to the government, you can bet the USDA would be slapping some major restrictions on beef production. So why don\'t they see that we are euthanizing millions of pets every year, and the puppy and kitten mills are "producing" a majority of them?

IS OUR GOVERNMENT REALLY SO "OWNED" BY THE PUPPY MILL/AG INDUSTRY, THAT THEY BETRAY THEIR CONSTITUENTS, PROPAGATE CRUELTY, WASTE OUR TAX DOLLARS AND GLUT THEIR OWN SYSTEMS? We must find a way to get rid of this horrific business of abuse and neglect! OUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO TAKE ACTION TODAY!

PAMELA M. BECK


















Reply
Miles
1 Years Ago

Christian, Jew and Muslim all recognise Genesis as a major part of our holy text. God created life and the earth; saying immediately after that they were \'Good\'. Not bad, indifferent, or ignoring them but that they were God\'s creation and were \'Good\'. This is the very beginning of our religious and spiritual texts and traditions. To deny it is to deny the very foundation-stone of our faith! God created people in God\'s image - and image that could create, and saw the heavens, earth and all life on earth as \'Good\'. People were to subdue and to hold dominion over it. Not to abuse and destroy it. Created in God\'s image; God subdued and brought domination on the Darkness through the creation of light, heaven, earth and life - seeing that it all was good. We need to ask ourselves, as images of God, do our actions subdue and dominate in such ways that they too are good and promote God\'s creation? If not then surely we turn our back on the first recorded actions of our Allah/God/Yhwh, in the very first week?


Reply
Miles
1 Years Ago

Francis of Assisi was way before his time. When the Norman Empire dominated Europe, with the Feudal System subjugating the vast amount of people it influenced into almost slavery; Francis stood out as different. To claim otherwise, is not to learn from history. When territorial, material and power grabs were extended out of Europe, and into the Middle East Francis experience led him onto a more enlightened path. Remember, the Crusades were meant to liberate Constantinople from a Seize, whilst taking the pressure off the peoples of Europe, suffering under the yoke of Norman Rule. It got completely out of hand, and the crusades became another wave of Norman Expansionism and domination of those then living in the Middle East. Feudalism, much worse than consumerism on people. The tradition of Francis, is part of the Tradition of the Roman and Anglo Catholic Church, as too, many protestant movements, including Quakers. "In the beginning God created heaven and the earth" 1:1.


Reply
C. Plague
1 Years Ago

I wish the media would stop celebrating this pope as if he\'s going to change the church on ALL moral issues, ESPECIALLY issues regarding the moral status of animals, and not just issues concerning women, birth control, homosexuals, and climate change.
I\'m not surprised that Wayne Pacelle of HSUS authored this article in praise of this pope! HSUS, according to real activists struggling to liberate animals from human domination, is a corporate animal "welfare" charity which often collaborates with the legally-protected animal-abusing industries to promote "humane" animal products. Pacelle believes in “building the law” through public awareness campaigns, lobbying for legislative reforms, state ballot initiatives, and by working to defend the laws that are already in place. In other words, working ourselves to death in a capitalist system that\'s rigged in favor of maintaining the balance of power of those in control, and that includes organized religion, which is very successful at controlling the values and beliefs of the masses. "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. " Seneca the Younger. No thanks, Wayne! This pope sides with a corporate welfarist movement for animals, NOT, I repeat, NOT animal rights.

I don’t appreciate some celebrity pope just because he’s issued an encyclical on climate change. Because I understand how religion, the Catholic Church in particular, is inherently antithetical to animal dignity. When you desanctify nonhuman life, you desanctify all life. When you devalue nonhuman life, as being merely “God’s creatures” – meaning, NOT “created in God’s image – you “elevate” human life to “divine” status (a fetus is given "divine" status because it\'s human). What cosmic arrogance! I’d like to remind the Pope that the other animals are not mere background for humans, and they are not mere props to lure attention to the environment, or canaries in the coal mine. And I’d like to challenge “progressives” by bringing the other animals out from the shadows and into the foreground like they deserve to be noticed with respect and admiration!

Once again, this is the OFFICIAL Catholic Church’s dogma on the moral status of nonhuman animals, as reflected in the words of Jesuit priest and philosopher Joseph Rickaby, who stated animal rights do not exist:

“Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being persons, cannot have any rights. The conclusion is clear. They are not autocentric. They are of the number of THINGS, which are another’s: they are chattels, or cattle. We have no duties to them…. Nor are we bound to any anxious care to make [their] pain as little as may be. Brutes are THINGS in our regard: so far as they are useful to use, they exist for us, not for themselves; and we do right in using them unsparingly for our need and convenience….”

Excerpt from the book “Men, Beasts and Gods, A History of Cruelty and Kindness to Animals” (Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY 1972) by Gerald Carson:
“The reflection that the lower creatures suffered, although innocent, troubled many consciences. But the official dogma stood firm that brutes [sic] had neither personality, ‘intellective soul’ nor future life. Their place in the universe was fixed forever in Genesis 1:28, that they lived and died for the convenience of man. As late as the middle of the last century, Pius IX refused permission for the formation in Rome of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals on the grounds that it was a theological error to suppose that man had any duty toward animals.”


Reply
Pam
20 Jun 2015

You do not have to agree with him, but I do and thankfully so do many others.

xx
21 Jun 2015

There are still folks who fall for this religion stuff, instead of looking within, into their own hearts.

Gene
21 Jun 2015

He is the Pope of Popes,meaning I believe through him changes are possible, and will manifest itself in ways we should All pray for. I thank God that I believe.



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