I was not surprised to see an article on the Pope’s supposed statement about dogs going to heaven on the front page of the New York Times.
I always thought that as dogs had a sense of humour they were created in God’s image and therefore worthy of a place in Heaven.
Apparently the Pope spoke his words to comfort a little boy whose dog had just died. The Italian press quoted the Pope as saying: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”
Father James Martin, (Jesuit priest, writer and Culture Editor of the Jesuit magazine America) seemed unconcerned with the reality of what the Pope said, and took the opportunity to understand the statement as saying that the Pope’s statement means that “God loves and Christ redeems all of creation.” Therefore, according to Fr. Martin, “He said paradise is open to all creatures. That sounds pretty clear to me.”
Not to be outdone, the New York Times quoted the Professor of Religion & Environmental Studies at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and “an expert on the history of dog-human interaction”, as saying that she believed that there would be a backlash from religious conservatives, but that it would take time.
“The Catholic Church has never been clear on this question; it’s all over the place, because it begs so many other questions,” she said. “Where do mosquitoes go, for God’s sake?”
As another response, animal rights activists are heralding the advent of a “vegan world”.
All very good issues, no doubt. But dogs display loyalties which are not always present in other animals, dogs feature in a significant supporting role in the Book of Tobias and dogs deserve their place in Heaven.
It’s good to know that Pope Francis and myself are thinking as one.
What more can one say?
For more discussion please see Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/12/dear-father-v-could-there-puppy-heaven.html#more