Animals (not the Pink Floyd album)

From our parochial vicar’s blog:

And if death and resurrection of Jesus did not save spiritual beings, in this case demons, neither did it help animals. Why? It is because the 2nd Person in the Trinity did not put on the nature of angels or animals but the nature of man: only what is taken up to heaven by the Christ is redeemed by the Christ”. So forget about seeing your favorite cats and dogs once again in heaven; when the animal dies, the soul dies with it; otherwise we should be baptizing animals and giving them a proper burial. And by the time I got back to my office after the Mass, a cartoon was prominently displayed on my door – of a pair of dogs trotting through the pearly gates.

The subject has always interested me.  At her brother’s wake, my sister-in-law was enthusing about him being reunited with his beloved dog.  A nun within earshot sternly rebuked her with “Animals don’t go to heaven.  They return to the dust of the earth and are no more.”  I would intend to agree with her, that animals don’t have an immortal soul, but interestingly the Church has no official position on this.  2415-2418 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church under the heading of “Respect for the integrity of creation”, refers to animals and their relation to creation, and our proper relation to them.  Most specifically 2416:

Animals are God’s creatures.  He surrounds them with his providential care.  By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.  Thus men owe them kindness.

2417 speaks on human stewardship of animals; 2418 ends with a cautionary One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

So nowhere in the Catechism is their immortal soul or lack thereof addressed.  As a member of PETA (People who Eat Tasty Animals), I am gratified it is inferred that it is okay to take part of one, put it in teriyaki marinade for a few hours, and roast it in the Big Green Egg.  That aside, St. Thomas Aquinas described the five levels of soulfulness; only humans attain the highest, immortal level.  An animal has a higher-level soul than a plant, because mobility is a higher-soul characteristic, but a gorilla does not ask himself the great questions of life, even as he thinks about the great question of punching you, as you make goofy faces at him behind that glass at the zoo.  Nonetheless, although we can’t promulgate animal immortality as doctrine, we can have hope that our beloved pet will be there with us in Heaven.  I refer to Revelation 21:5…

The one who sat on the throne said “Behold, I make all things new.”

There will be a new heaven and a new earth. Will my much-loved Dachshund mix Wally be there?  I can have hope, although if so I hope it’s the young “fetch the ball” Wally, and not the current go-in-the-house-move-like-Fred Sanford 15 year-old Wally.  But I’m good with whatever’s the ultimate reality, as long as I’m there!

Explore posts in the same categories: Catholicism, Faith

One Comment on “Animals (not the Pink Floyd album)”

  1. Stan Sikorski Says:

    Nice to see you back on point!


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