My name is Virginia Bell and I am a member of Catholic Concern for Animals and Catholic Action for Animals. My mission is to call on the Catholic Church to do more for animals.
The Pope’s recent Encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ has given new hope to those of us who are concerned about the way we humans treat our fellow creatures.
In this Encyclical Pope Francis reminds us that the Church requires us to treat creatures with respect and kindness. A Papal Encyclical forms part of the official teaching of the Catholic Church, so this is a very important document. The way we treat animals is a major contributive cause of many of the serious problems facing the planet today, including climate change, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Being kinder to animals, which the Pope is calling for, would considerably improve the situation for the planet and for us humans.
My response to the Pope’s call for dialogue and action concerning the care of what he calls ‘’our common home’’ is to set up a local parish group to educate about and promote concern for our fellow creatures, and to be a witness in the local community to the Church’s concern for animals.
What better name for such a group than ‘St. Francis of Assisi Group’, thus honouring both the great Saint and the Pope who chose his name specifically in acknowledgement of St. Francis? How do other ICN readers feel? Does anyone else think that setting up a local ‘St. Francis’ parish group is how they would like to respond to the Pope’s Encyclical? As a local group you can bring the message of ‘Laudato Si’ into your parish life. You just need one or two other like-minded people.
The question of whether or not animals have an everlasting soul is irrelevant. We humans do, therefore how we treat animals matters. This aspect of our faith has been neglected by the Church. Pope Francis is trying to correct this, as can be seen in ‘Laudato Si’.
I wrote to the Pope asking him to bless this group, and was very fortunate to receive a reply from the Vatican with a personal message from the Pope - “The Holy Father will remember you and the Saint Francis Group in his prayers, and he invokes upon you God’s abundant blessings”.
You can download a copy of the leaflet I sent the Pope from my website: www.catholicactionforanimals.wordpress.com and alter the contact details to suit your group.
Workers in this particular vineyard are greatly needed. I pray that there are others who share my mission.