View Full Version : Benedict XVI Continues Tradition of Papal Concern for Animals

01-30-2008, 07:10 PM

Benedict XVI Continues Tradition of Papal Concern for Animals

Just hours after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was named Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005, PETA offered congratulations and urged His Holiness to include animals in the Catholic Church's areas of concern.

Pope Benedict XVI has spoken movingly about the exploitation of all beings, particularly of farmed animals, and PETA has created an ad featuring this message. When he was asked about the rights of animals in a 2002 interview, he said, “That is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God's creatures . . . Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”

Cardinal Ratzinger was echoing official church teachings, as laid out in the Catholic Catechism, which states clearly that “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. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. . . . It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”

In our letter, we asked His Holiness to bring his own compassionate vision to the public: “We hope that you will continue to speak out for these exploited beings. In recent years, our membership has swelled with [Catholics] who believe that animals, like people, have a sacred right to life and need to be protected from violence. . . . We turn to you now, as you take on your momentous duties, and humbly ask that you lead the way into a new era of compassion and respect for all beings, regardless of species.” Read PETA’s letter to Pope Benedict XVI.