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Does Pope Francis Care about Animal Suffering?

Story ID:10160
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Location:Vatican Rome Italy
Year:2014
Person:"Andrew"
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Many of us hope and pray that the present Pope will be one of compassion for
not only the poor of the world, but for the billions of farm animals who suffer
because of our meat lust. However, I read somewhere that his favorite dish
is chicken.

I met Andrew (not his real name) on the Catholic Vegan and the Catholic Vegetarian
Facebook sites. I found him to be an indefatigable optimist in believing and
hoping that Pope Francis will become a vegan. As he himself wrote in one of his
comments-he has been writing Pope Francis since March of 2013 asking him to become
vegan. On his last facebook entry he sincerely hopes that on the Pope’s birthday-
December 17th- he will make an announcement that he has become vegan.

I truly admire “Andrew” for this highly unlikely wish and wrote him on Facebook:
You are an incredible optimist. However, let’s all pray that the Holy father is moved
in this direction. Right now I’m just hoping he would become vegetarian. That would
be a huge step for this pontiff who according to my knowledge has not spoken in
behalf of animals since becoming pope.

Andrew’s reply to me: Suzana, I have been sending messages to Pope Francis since
March 2013 trying to convince him of why the most powerful religious leader in the
world should be a vegan. If he starts out as vegetarian, fine............. My real fear is
that Pope Francis, the leader of 1.2 to 1.3 billion Catholics just does not get it. (This
I agreed with.) If God does exist and decided to live on Earth a few months every
year, God would be a vegan. There would be no factory farms or slaughterhouses.
There would be no hunting. There would be no experimental labs, etc. ( I couldn’t
argue with this sentiment either.)

He continued: Pope Francis truly has the chance to save the lives of billions of animals-
setting a powerful and convincing precedent for thousands of religious leaders to
emulate. Sadly, I believe this to be too grandiose of an idea because even while he
might command the respect of other religious leaders – they are too often wed to
their own cruel practices involving the treatment of animals. For example, every 5
years the people of New Delhi offer the slaughter of thousands of farm animals they
bring before the temple of their goddess Gadhimai. I very much doubt that what the
Holy Father would do or say re the treatment of animals would have any impact on
this cruel form of goddess worship.

And then even the practice of some Spanish and Mexican people who engage in bull
fighting and other festivals involving animal cruelty would still go on by some- despite
the teachings of the church in this regard. Sadly, even Catholics don’t respect
the Holy Father even when he condemns these cruel practices. I also mentioned to
Andrew my belief that had there been a pope to truly espouse animal concerns it would
have been St. Pope John XXIII. We even entertained hopes that St. Pope John Paul II
would have had these charisms, but sadly did not. And personally, I feel that any Pope
who doesn’t recognize the inequity involved with denying women the priesthood will
also be truly not as concerned as he should be re animal suffering and our complicity
in it. However, I truly hope that I am wrong.

THEN I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY ANDREW’S COMMENT:

Suzana, I really believe the Pope should be a woman. Generally speaking, men have
destroyed he Earth and trillions of animals throughout history. Women protect and
care for the Earth, their children, and animals much more then men. A woman Pope
would be much easier to convince to be a vegan and would be very successful
promoting veganism everywhere.

And my final comment to Andrew: What a beautiful comment re women and the
priesthood. You are indeed a very humble, caring man because you not only care
about animal suffering, but you recognize the suffering of women who aspire to the
priesthood. I was never one of them, but I feel for those who have this calling. I also
read a comment from a former nun who said had there been women bishops maybe
the horrible scandal of priest pedophilia would never have gone unaddressed for
so long. And a thought re the Stations of the Cross which I make almost daily. I love
that the women were there for Jesus. Of course His Mother was there-Veronica (who
some say was not real), the weeping daughters of Jerusalem and the other women
who joined Mary at the foot of the cross. Where were the men? And sadly this pope
I believe even stripped Fr. Helmut Schuler of his priestly faculties because he believes
in a women priesthood. A couple of years ago he came to Cleveland and spoke to a
group of women who are agitating for a woman priesthood. Sadly, this pope seems
not to be the pope of real and true compassion in regards to woman and animal needs.
Again, Please God, I hope I am wrong