Sunday, July 25, 2010

Affection for Animals But Not for Babies

One of the great conundrums of many, shall we say, more liberal churches, is their great affection for animals while at the same time expressing disdain for laws or rights on behalf of the not yet born.  Some of you probably heard of the Anglican Church in Toronto in which a dog was communed with its master (both new to the church and the dog as yet unbaptized).  If, by some miracle of chance, you did not read it, you can find the story HERE.  We have all seen the many congregations on the more liberal end of the spectrum who offer the blessing of animals in the Church but, as yet, this remains the first communion of a pet.  Jesus would have loved it, said some who thought it wonderful.  I remain unconvinced.  Our dogma has truly gone to the dogs.

How is it that Jesus would have loved Fido making his first communion but finds no scandal in never allowing the infant in the womb to be born to receive his or her first communion (after baptism)?  Again, the point here is not what Jesus would have loved but how we interpret His love and what we find easy to love and hard to love.  Pets are generally easy to love, it seems.  Children are not.  And so our age has seemingly gone the full circle from the dominical command to be fruitful and multiply to abort the baby but commune the pet.

This would not be so sad if it were simply an anomaly but the truth is that it is not some isolated event.  It is the natural outgrown of those who value the lives of animals over those not yet born -- itself a reflection of the higher value place on the animal than on human life but more than this, making a value of the faith.  To be sure, we all love our pets (three animals call home the abode whose mortgage payments we make).  Why is it so hard to love the not yet born with the same unequivocal love and unfailing sense of protection?

I do not believe in the violent sort of witness that some do in the face of the abortion scandal (it sort of defeats the whole idea of pro-life in my book).  But every now and then something happens to make you angry enough to take up a brick and give it a toss.  For me it is the inconsistency of those who value the lives of their pets more than they value the lives of the unborn.  The whole idea that a priest of Christ's Church would place a host on the wagging tongue of a four legged friend is abhorrent to the faith and yet the fact that so many find it cute or innocent drives me nuts.  We have surely defined the fringes of Christian faith, doctrine, and morality when an animal's life is welcomed, protected, and respected but we believe that it is a personal choice on the part of the mother if she wants to continue or discontinue the pregnancy (notice how well I could avoid any terminology that actually admitted there was a life at stake...).

I am ambivalent about the blessing of pets.  I am rabid over the scandal of an animal's life being more important than the life of the unborn.  I am shocked that this is a liberal position.  Surely Richard John Neuhaus had it right that pro-life should have been the liberal position but instead the right of the mother to make her own choice (without a conflict of values) became the liberal cause.  It is a blight upon our nation but it is a sin in the churches and congregations where Fido has more standing than the life of the unborn.


ErnestO said...

Please pray that Divine Mercy will end the murder of babies by abortion in America and around the world.

Fallhiker said...

In both cases, I see an abomination,
1) the murder (and I use the term murder purposefully) of innocents ranks up there with the child sacraficing to baal. Liberals use abortion as a sacrament to their beliefs. Liberals coined the phrase pro-choice, but, even that is a lie. They don't women to have a choice, they prefer women to sacrifice their unborn children on the alter of liberalism. If they were pro-choice they would have no problem with women, being offered the option of adoption, and counciled on such "choices".
2) communing a pet, reeks of the dogs eating Jezabel in 2 kings chapter 9. thus dishonoring the sacrifice of our Lord (at least the dogs are not partaking in the belief of the Lord's presence in the bread therefore the bread does not contain the true body of christ, unless you are looking at this through Catholic eyes).

Lee said...

Well, I'm not so sure if the blessing of the animals is such a conservative /liberal issue. The Roman Catholic priest in our town, who is also very conservative and the vicar of clergy for this diocese, always and enthusiastically has a blessing of the animals every year. My grandmother loved animals more than some people, too, and there is no way she could be qualified as a liberal.

Now, as far as the Eucharist being given to a dog... Ugg. Although just the symbolism of the whole thing is troubling enough, the practice completely disassociates Jesus' body and blood from the purpose for which it is given: forgiveness of sin. I may have missed that class in seminary, and I truly may have, but I never remember dogs being inheritors of original sin.

I have also found it puzzling about the double standard regarding abortion and capital punishment. Many pro-capital punishment people are against abortion, which I can see why some may not see as contradictory, but it is a fine line; on the other end however, those who are for abortion and against capital punishment just seem to defy all logic.

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

Dear Brother, you've already devoted more thought to this act than the Priest who communed a dog did. It was a spur of the moment act that is surprising in its lack of discernment and disregard for the eucharist. It is disgusting, but hardly suprising given the 'lets dress up and play church' zietgiest that pervades many an apostate church.
When sin, iniquity and transgressions are considered good, and even a blessing, the trampling of the sacred under foot cannot be far behind. And why indeed would one need to honor a sacrament that cleanses from sin, when sin has been abolished by ecclesiastical fiat?