Posed as ever on the cutting edge of the politically correct and theologically dubious, the Episcopal Church–U.S.A. will soon consider adopting a Burial Service for Beloved Animals, in which the following two Collects appear:
At the burial of a farm animal
Most gracious, good Lord, we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand: We thank you for placing among us the beasts of the field and allowing us to care for them, and to receive from them food and clothing to meet our necessities. We grieve this day the death of A., and we return to you a creature of your own making, one who served as an effective sign of the generosity of your love for us; through Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
At the death of a wild animal
Almighty God, who make the beasts of the wild move in beauty and show forth the glory of your Name: We grieve the death of this creature, in whose living and dying the power of your Spirit was made manifest. We reverence the loss of that which was never ours to claim but only to behold with wonder; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A former Vatican official known for his prowess with a deer rifle commented on the latter: “I have my own prayer at the death of a wild animal. It begins, ‘Bless, O Lord, and these thy gifts . . .’” Another priest, seeing this, said “There’s plenty of room for all of God’s creatures . . . next to the mashed potatoes.” To which Former Vatican Official replied, “Don’t forget the gravy.”