St. Francis
Saint Francis. Detail from the painting of Giotto (ca. 1295)

She is 67 years old and was born and raised in the Catholic faith and doctrine. And she is quite aware of what it is in force:
– All forms of animal cruelty is contrary to the Christian faith!

Virginia Bell lives in a small town in southeast England. She is a devout Catholic, was born and brought up in the Catholic faith, and committed to all forms of cruelty and poor husbandry. Together with a group of other enthusiasts, she started the organization Catholic Action for Animals – Catholic action for the animals – as she works to educate and inform about animal rights and Christian faith.They do this in various ways, including by blogging, writing articles and distribute leaflets.

Just in October , when the Church celebrates the Holy Saint Francis, it is especially important to pay attention to human responsibility for animals, says Virginia, and her goal is that every Catholic parish should have its own Francis Group.

Francis Group? Asks Km and she nods smile:
– It is obvious for precisely the Holy Francis of these animal rights groups to be named, she laughs and makes no secret of the Holy Francis of Assisi has a special place in her heart.

Virginia Bell knows that her position is considered controversial by many, and she sometimes gets criticism for his active struggle against bullfighting and bull rushes, but shrugs her shoulders at.
– There’s no sensible argument for blood sports involving animals. Some say it belongs to “tradition,” but something is tradition are no excuse for pure savagery, she says to the Catholic magazine.

How then should the Catholic Church acting against the phenomena of bullfighting and bull rushes, do you?
– The Church must be clear right from the top management down to the laity and explain that all the encouragement to bullfighting and other blood sacrifice festivals is a serious sin. The Pope should instruct bishops to condemn these spectacles, otherwise the bishops not to do anything at all.Similarly, the bishops urge priests to do the same, and the priests, in turn, explain to their congregations that all “celebrations” that is to torment animals is sinful and should be avoided at all costs, says Virginia Bell.

Virginia says that the fair is an excellent time and place for that information, for example, in a sermon, or even better, by the reading of a letter from the local bishop. Otherwise there is a risk that the laity continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals, she says.
– This form of cruelty should be addressed as soon as the need arises and if the pope would appoint a committee for animal rights people would be made aware of a better way of Church doctrine on how animals should be treated.

Virginia Bell says that the Catholics she makes contact with certainly show empathy for animals in general, but not always aware of how our lives in general affect animal welfare.
– We are accustomed to animals exposed to the most terrible evil, and in all kinds of contexts. Battery hens, cattle and pigs living under the cruelest conditions, animals reared in the cage to get to the fur … And the church says very little about the matter. This means that people simply get used to it and think that everything is as it should be.

In fact, fighting animal cruelty against church teachings, according to Virginia, and the Church has always taken a stand against animal cruelty:
– The Church has always taught that cruelty to animals is a sin and that particular animal cruelty is even a grievous sin, even a mortal sin . Already in 1567 Pope Pius V issued a bull against bull. Bull was meant to apply “in perpetuum” (the eternal time) but during the two succeeding popes became increasingly watered down and now ignores simply from it.

Virginia Bell knows , however, some hope that the Church, under the current Pope Francis, will develop a new sense of responsibility.
– Francis is not afraid to talk about how we carry ourselves with the resources that God has given us.In Catholic teaching is the message that we humans have a duty to be a good representative of the creation. Instead, we tear apart our planet, greedily takes resources from the weakest and allows the animals exploited and tortured in the most brutal manner. We must start responsibility for creation, says Victoria Bell, who think that the church too long turned a blind eye for animal rights and hope for a tightening.
– In all the years I have gone to Mass, I never heard a single priest preaching about how important it is to we treat animals well. It is really terrible. The fact that we are placed on earth to defend the creation does not give us the right to put us over and dominate other living beings in the way that we do. How will those who are cruel to defenseless animals to feel real empathy for his fellow man? she asks.

Sometimes it happens that Victoria Bell feels marginalized and outside the church, even undesirable. But she lets not affected by.
– Many people find it difficult to think about. And I feel that there is a tradition to misunderstand man’s special place in creation. The ignorance is so great, but I’m not losing hope that people will wake up and realize that we have a responsibility, says Victoria Bell.

The Catholic magazine # 10 you will find more interesting interviews and reports by animal rights focus.


Bitte Assarmo


Footnote: Those wishing to contact Virginia Bell reach her via her “blog .