I am Buddhist and I don’t believe in God, I see all “creatures” as sentient beings, although I found his words very inspiring and hope they might have a profound effect in changing the perspective of non-vegans regarding all animals.
Posted by ahimsa32fa at 12/12/14 08:17:44Thank you for the thoughtful comment.
I spent a number of years studying Religion (and other related disciplines), and found much I liked about Buddhism and Jainism.
I consider myself an academic as well as a compassionate atheist. I refuse to let "faith" hinder my efforts to learn, share, and reduce suffering in the world.
Posted by happycowgirl at 12/12/14 10:58:55I had high hopes for this Pope as soon as I heard he took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. I'm with ahimsa in that I'm a compassionate atheist and an intellectual. That said, I'm surrounded by Catholic friends and family and the Pope's statement that "Paradise is open to all of God's creatures" was huge news!
"All of God's creatures" of course, goes much further than just cats and dogs. The Pope has not limited God's kingdom to just animals that people love. He's thrown the doors to heaven wide open for all living creatures on earth. As he should. Naturally, this begs the question, "What about the creatures we eat?" Most Catholics don't want to think about the creature on their plate and once having a life and now having a soul that can go to heaven.
If there was any doubt about how powerful the Pope's statement was, simply look to the reaction of the meat industry. They quickly became defensive and started determining for themselves what is and is not a sin:
“As on quite a few other things Pope Francis has said, his recent comments on all animals going to heaven have been misinterpreted,” Dave Warner, a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, said in an email. “They certainly do not mean that slaughtering and eating animals is a sin.”
Last I checked, determining what is and is not a sin isn't the purview of the meat industry. Pope Francis made a strong statement and Catholics worldwide would be wise to pause and reflect on it.