July 20, 2016: Pro-Life and Pro Animal

~by Susi Pittman

Over the years I have come up against Catholics who have told me that being Pro-life means you cannot be Pro-animal. 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 not quite sure what he meant by one of those. Perhaps 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. I will never know.

That conversation has stayed in my mind.

Human beings were given a great gift by God over all other creatures on earth…the human body 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, which has always taught that all that exists enters into this world through Christ, and all that IS will exit this world through Christ, 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.

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 what belongs to Jesus for all eternity as the universal king of all creation.

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, catholic Stewards of Creation .Com, in raising awareness, inspiring, educating and motivating people to love and learn more about the created world IS my calling. I believe that my Church has it right and we all can find a home in being good stewards of creation.

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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