In response to Pope Francis’ call for dialogue and action concerning the care of our common home, we (a group of Catholics in Milton Keynes) have set up a local parish group which meets once a month, to educate about and promote concern for our fellow creatures, and to be a witness to the Church’s concern for animals. We call this group the ‘St. Francis of Assisi Group’. There is much to do, as Catholic clergy are usually silent about animal matters, which is reflected in church-goers ‘ attitudes towards animals.
It is our hope that similar groups will be started in other parishes, and to that end we encourage those who share our concern for animals to establish their own group in their own local church.
THE AIM OF THIS WEBSITE IS TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SET UP ‘ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI’ GROUPS IN THEIR LOCAL CHURCH. I WROTE TO POPE FRANCIS ABOUT THE GROUP, AND WAS TOLD “THE HOLY FATHER WILL REMEMBER YOU AND THE SAINT FRANCIS GROUP IN HIS PRAYERS, AND HE INVOKES UPON YOU GOD’S ABUNDANT BLESSINGS.”
I find that Catholics in general give a very low priority to the treatment of animals. This I believe is because priests never mention this subject in their sermons. And this in turn is because our bishops don’t consider animals as having any status and never mention them to priests.
The only way for the treatment of animals to be taken seriously by the mass of the Catholic population is for the bishops to instruct priests to bring the subject into their sermons at Mass. Otherwise nothing will change. We have hundreds of years of neglect to overcome, and I don’t think it can be done any other way.
The Pope has made it clear that by receiving the Holy Spirit in Baptism all Catholics have the right to be involved in the decision-making processes of the Church.
THEREFORE I BELIEVE THAT THE FOCUS OF CATHOLICS WHO CAMPAIGN FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS SHOULD BE THE BISHOPS, AND I URGE CATHOLICS TO WRITE TO THEIR BISHOP, OR TO THE BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES (BCEW), CALLING FOR PASTORAL LETTERS TO PRIESTS WHICH INSTRUCT PRIESTS TO INCLUDE OUR DUTY TO ANIMALS IN THEIR SERMONS.
The email addresses of all the diocesan bishops in England and Wales can be found here:- :- http://www.cbcew.org.uk/CBCEW-Home/The-Bishops/Diocesan-Bishops-of-England-and-Wales
The email address for the BCEW is:- Christopher.Thomas@CBCEW.Org.uk ( Fr. Christopher Thomas is the General Secretary).
Most countries will have a website containing the email addresses of their bishops.