Originally Published on OpEdNews
I am usually disillusioned with Catholic newspapers. Aside from having almost no articles re compassionate treatment of animals, try sending a letter to them in this regard. I am happy to have known some unbiased editors who did publish my letters re animal concerns, but sadly they always seem to disappear in time. However, in the last 10 years I do remember 5 who were of this ilk and I thank God for them. I also wish them success in all their endeavors - hopefully in the publishing realm because we need more editors like them. For the others, I still try to awaken a sense of compassion for the animals- but believe me it's a tough sell generally. I even have the same problem broaching the subject of animal rights generally to fellow Catholics. They just don't seem to get it that animals are God's creatures too. Here is a recent letter I submitted to a Catholic newspaper. I think it is pretty tame but time will tell if it gets published. So far the score recently to this particular newspaper - 2 submitted and 0 published.
Since the paper had a Thomas Aquinas article which as per usual paints him in a wonderful light, I found a chance to differ. Here is my letter based on the wonderful article of Jesse Ramirez which I had found on the internet years ago, and which I was delighted to find that he has enlarged upon it wonderfully.
To the Editor:
Re the Thomas Aquinas article (8/20/10), it conjures up for me the 80's when I became acutely aware of animal suffering. At this time I was more than shocked that I could not drum up compassion from the Pope or Cleveland's 180 Catholic clergy with a letter I sent them re how badly animals are treated by us. Finally, I learned about the Thomas Aquinas' "Utility Principle" which basically concludes that animals have utility value only. Truthfully, I was and still am stunned that such a teaching exists. It does not evoke for me the image of a gentle Jesus holding a lamb on His shoulders.
Anyone who has a computer and is interested in this topic -Jesse Ramirez, a graduate of Santa Clara University wrote "Faith Seeking Food: Animals, Factory Farms, and Catholic Social Teaching." For me his 8- page article is so beautiful because it speaks so knowingly of the suffering we cause animals- unjustly in the view of many compassionate people. I think he starts off brilliantly and it deserves to be quoted in his own words:
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (American Standard Bible, Rev. 3:20)
Imagine that Christ meant these words literally. Imagine that accepting Christ as your personal savior required lunching with him. Of course, if Christ were coming over today for lunch, you would probably dust, vacuum, adjust the pictures on the walls, pick your best outfit, comb your hair, jot down a few questions about heaven. But what would the two of you eat? Would you serve Christ fried chicken? How would you feel about setting a plate of steaming, sizzling pork chops in front of your savior? A few hard-boiled eggs wouldn't hurt, right? Maybe a glass of milk to wash it all down?
For many Christians, faith has little to do with what's in the fridge. Lunch with Christ would raise issues far more problematic than choice of food. However, I propose that if the above-mentioned foods came from modern factory farms, Christ would not eat or drink them."
Jesse - thank you so much. I wholeheartedly agree. I hope and pray that one day the church will also see and recognize this "truth." I printed the rest of this 8-page treatise for myself because he has a gift of sharing his views so beautifully and compellingly.