Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Pope and vegetarianism

Although not a vegetarian, the new Pope has spoken about the exploitation of all beings, particularly of farmed animals. When he was asked about cruelty to 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 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."

IMO: Those who favour the Roman church should heed the Pope's words : " It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly". Examples of their dying needlessly includes eating them when there are enough healthy fruits, vegetables etc. The Bible depicts vegetarianism as God’s ideal, and the diet conforms to the central biblical principle of steward-ship. In Eden, all creatures lived peacefully, and God told both humans and animals to consume only plant foods (Gen. 1:29–31). As far as the current Pope is concerned, I do not know him personally - a lady who claims to have been John Paul's girl friend said to me that 'excessive attempts at spin' seemed to be one of John Paul's main problems. But it does seem to me that the basis of the Benedictine beliefs, which Ratzinger claims to espouse, involves vegetarianism. One is tempted to forgive Ratzinger, as his apparent experiences of goosestepping in jackboots, singing the Horst Wessel song along with other Nazis, etc. seems to have changed mainly to dressing in the papal Holly Woodlawn type gear, and singing songs in rather bad Latin (I speak only as a former scholar of academic latin). Hardly surprising, then, that Ratzinger has stuck to chewing away at living creatures in typical Nazi tradition. A big problem seems to be the divine authority these fellows seem to claim (Cardinal Biffi, for example, who says, admitttedly rather understandably, that journalists are "rats" may leave one to wonder) but Ratzinger has said quite a few sensible things, although the saying 'do what I say, not what I do' suggests Ratzinger does make too many false steps for the sake of his own faith.

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