The Christian life is sometimes called a school of virtue, as we are called to orient our lives on the values of Christ. The culture of life called for by Pope John Paul II can never materialise where there is unthinking or direct cruelty towards defenceless animals. It appears that, according to some people, God is so small that He can be concerned only with part of his creation - the human part - and not with all of it. Similarly some peoples' views of love are so narrow that they claim that others can love only people or animals, but not both. We say these views are misguided. St Isaac the Syrian spoke of the Christian heart as one which "is burning for love for the whole creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts for all creatures. That is why such a man never ceases to pray for the animals moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united with God." There is so much cruelty inflicted on animals today, on farms, in laboratories, in the wild and in captivity. Some of it is wilful, most is simply because people ignore, and are insensitive to, the sufferings of other creatures. All animals are created by God to give glory to Him - not to be simply things to be used by people for their own benefit. All animals have the right to live their lives as God intended them to be lived - and people were given responsibility (the Bible calls it dominion) to see that they do. Instead of behaving as images of God - we have instead become images of inhumanity, of monsters, in our relations with the rest of creation. For 70 years there has been only one UK Catholic society concerned with every aspect of animal welfare and theology: The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare The Circle exists to influence society world-wide into becoming more compassionate towards animals and more aware of the inter-relatedness of all creatures under God. We research and disseminate authentic teachings of the Catholic tradition and of other religious beliefs to help bring about a way of living in accordance with the Creators design. We support and encourage those working those working towards these aims. An illustrated, 62-page journal The Ark is published every four months, containing articles and features on every aspect of the Study Circles interests. If you think that The Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare is for you, send for a free copy of The Ark or for more information, visit their site at www.catholic-animals.org
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