Thursday, August 8, 2013

You Animal!

-- Plans for a pet repository in San Francisco spur theological flap -- Let me add that those who care about animals, generally care about people.  Those who abuse animals, often abuse people.  The Franciscans are in the right.  Needy humans are not harmed by this, but loving hearts are comforted and encouraged.

What's this Facebook post about?  The LATimes article adds much detail, but it sums up the conflict as follows. --SAN FRANCISCO  This is, after all, the City of St. Francis. So when a shrine named in his honor announced plans to build a repository for pet ashes in a catacomb-like hollow under the stairs of its 19th-century church, many animal lovers were elated.

Little did they know the plan would stir old-fashioned church politics and deep theological questions. (Is the stair nook a sacred space? Does placement of cinerary urns equate to pet burial? Did St. Francis only care about living creatures?) --

My response is the Facebook post I have reposted above.

Admittedly, the issue is extremely complicated. Critics fear that money will be diverted from the homeless and other needy humans in order to provide for this memorial to dead pets. However, I must point out that the cost will be minimal. Then I must ask do you really think that if people don't donate to the church in order to place their pets here, every bit bit of that money will then go to the homeless?  

If this action benefits the church in question, then the church in question will be able to divert any funds generated to the areas where they are needed.  I suspect the only real issue here is the theological question of whether animals can go to heaven. It may seem theoretical, but to those who care about such matters, it is hotly contested and regarded as essential dogma.  The argument is that animals do not have souls. They have no knowledge of good and evil. Therefore they cannot be saved by Christ's sacrifice.

My answer to that issue is, so what? They are still beloved and they matter to human beings who love them very much. I don't think this simple act of kindness and comfort being made to people who have suffered what to them is a terrible loss can in any way be seen as a bad thing.

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