July 12 2017: Advocating for creation

~by Susi Pittman

Things that are impossible with men are possible with God. ! Jesus (Luke 18:27)

Over the years I have come up against Catholics who have gasped at the fact that as a Catholic I am an “animal” advocate. I have been told that being pro-life should be my focus. I have been told that by advocating for animals, (and I am a staunch supporter of human life from the womb to the tomb) somehow diminishes my moral concern for the unborn.

Years ago, on my way to a Catholic convention in Philadelphia, I was in a delightful conversation with one of the attendees. The subject matter turned to me and my book to which he said, Oh! You’re one of those. Don’t you know that unborn babies are so much more important than that! And he began a five-minute tirade on my lack of true moral direction and the intrinsic importance of human suffering over animal suffering. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to respond, as the shuttle van had arrived at our destination and he was off like a flash.

I am now quite sure I know what he meant. It was directed at grouping me with what I consider to be extremist groups or perhaps he was referring to me as a baby hater.

That conversation has stayed in my mind.

Human beings were given a great gift by God over all other creatures on earth…the human being shares in the dignity of “the image of God,” animated by a spiritual soul, given intellect, rationale and free will and becoming a temple of the Holy Spirit. All human life is precious beyond compare, and in all of its forms. How magnificent that the God of all that is would give such a gift! Yet, to whom much is given, much is expected.

Why would we as Catholics, members of the One, Holy and Apostolic faith, not heed the teachings of the Church in the Catechism? Why would we not believe in our interconnectedness with all creation AND the final residing of all in Christ? In the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, The infinite God has no limits, the desire which he arouses is immeasurable.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it is stated that;

Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection…Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment…The order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and rom the relationships which exist among them…The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man’s intellect and will.

I don’t believe that being Pro-animal in any way takes away from my being Pro-life…and in most all cases enhances it. From the time that I was small, my parents and grandparents taught me kindness to animals in all their diversities. It then came as second nature for me to care about the “unborn” as I grew up into adulthood.

Neither moral obligation to the unborn or to the humane and kind treatment of animals EVER left my conscience. As a matter of fact, reason lead me to embrace the idea that they support each other. You cannot have one without the other. And there does not have to be a choice between the two. Sacred Scripture numerous times speaks to the care of animals. In the book of Jonah, as the town of Nineveh answers the prophets call to repentance, it is mentioned that even the animals were called to fast along with the community.

For the eager longing of creation awaits the revelation of the sons of God. For creation was made subject to vanity –  not by its own will but by reason for him who made it subject – in hope, because creation itself also will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God. For we know that all creation groans and travails in pain until now. ~ Romans 8: 19-22

We are called to see God not only in the mirror of his creation and creatures or in His angels, we as human beings will be called to see him without medium. This Earth and all the natural world is a gift to us. We are obliged to respond to everything we see in good, moral stewardship. Our Creator has told us that He saw all He had created as “very good.” And there will come a day when we will see all that is good with Jesus in eternity prepared for us from the beginning of time.

The great saint, Saint Pope John Paul II asked of us to heed the example of St. Francis, who looked upon creation with the eyes of one who could recognize in it the marvelous work of the hand of God. His solicitous care, not only towards men, but also towards animals, is a faithful echo of the love with which God in the beginning pronounced his ‘fiat’ which brought them into existence. We too are called to a similar attitude. . . . It is necessary and urgent that with the example of the little poor man of Assisi, one decides to abandon unadvisable forms of domination, the locking up of all creatures.

I am proud to be Pro-animal AND Pro-life, following in the greatest footsteps of those in our Church history.

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission–to be of service to them whenever they require it. If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

We as Catholics must come together and forge ahead in supporting the preservation and value of all life. It is important to be part of organizations that are doing such good throughout the world for our lesser brethren, especially our Catholic organizations. It is important to care for what is directly in our own backyards. It is important to join and participate in the Pro-life movement, especially those within our Catholic faith.

I am and will always be Roman Catholic, Pro-life, Pro-animal and Pro-creation! Each of us is called to mission in different causes. Through much prayer and sacrifice, I have come to the sure conclusion that my mission in stewardship of creation and being an advocate for creation and its creatures is raising awareness, inspiring, educating and motivating people to love and learn more about the created world. I believe that my Church has it right and we all can find a home in being good stewards of creation.

I believe that as parents and grandparents, we have a responsibility to teach our families to respect life in its smallest forms. The natural world is a great place to start, there are many diverse small and vulnerable creatures to start a lesson on purpose and respect. When as adults we are asked to understand and accept the importance of the human life from its most vulnerable in the womb to its completion at natural death, it won’t be a far leap to grasp the gravity of such spiritual latitudes.

God never commands the impossible. But He warns us to do what we can, and to ask of Him the grace to accomplish what we of ourselves cannot do, and He aids us to fulfill what He commands.

~St, Augustine (Council of Trent)


Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; a member of the St. John’ s Catholic Writers Guild;
a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.



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