If there is a day we wish to never arrive, it is the day our Labradors will leave us. But have you ever wondered where they go when they pass? Heaven, Rainbow Bridge, or do they just disappear into non-existence?
Lately, Pope Francis hinted that animals, too, go to heaven. Well, he may not meant exactly that, but it was one interpretation of remarks made by the pope in his weekly general audience in the Vatican.
“The holy scripture teaches us that the fulfilment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,” the 77-year-old pontiff said.
Pope Francis quoted from the books of St. Paul, St. Peter, and the Book of Revelations in support of the view that “what lies ahead … is therefore a new creation”.
“It is not an annihilation of the universe and all that surrounds us. Rather it brings everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty,” he added.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera was in no doubt about his meaning. “It broadens the hope of salvation and eschatological beatitude to animals and the whole of creation,” states the paper’s Vatican specialist in an article published November 27.
But some were not convinced.
“We all say that there will be a continuity between this world and the joyful one of the future, [but also] a transformation,” said Gianni Colzani, an emeritus professor of theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome.“It is the balance between the two things that we are not in a position to determine. For that reason, I think we shouldn’t make [Pope Francis] say more than he says.”
Despite being a known cat-lover, Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, does not seem to believe that pets are welcome in heaven. In a sermon he gave in 2008, he said “For other creatures, who are not called to eternity, death just means the end of existence on Earth.”
Without a doubt, the Catholic catechism holds out little hope for the animal kingdom in the next life or for it in this life either. Their keynote has always been the absolute primacy of mankind as the creatures, which, according toBible, was created in God’s image.
“Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity,” it says, while cautioning that “animals are God’s creatures”, and therefore “men owe them kindness”.
However, it is clear in its view that it is “legitimate to use animals for food and clothing”. And it supports scientific experimentation on animals “if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives”.
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Source: The Guardian