Sunday, 15 March 2009

Mid - Twentieth century

“If we consult our English dictionary we shall see that the animals have some of the things for which the word ‘rights’ stands. One definition of the word ‘rights’ is: ‘that which is in accordance with the will of God’ and it is evident that the animals have rights in that sense.”

Rev. Aloysius Roche
These Animals of Ours
Burns, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1939, p18

“This book is an endeavour to deal with a question which has been sadly neglected by theologians – the question of the Christian attitude to the creatures. Most scholars deny that they have any rights, and few people recognise that we have a duty towards them.

It is largely because the creatures are popularly believed to be soulless that they are treated so callously, for if it were admitted that they had souls it would become obvious that they had rights. But this is just what both Catholic and Anglican theologians deny.
The idea that man is the only being who has an immortal soul is an unwarranted assumption which has only gained credence because it suits our vanity and our convenience to think that we are the lords of the earth and can do just as we please with the ‘lower animals.’”

Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore, M.A.
These we have not Loved – The C.W. Daniel Company, Ltd., 1942, Preface, pp26, 30

“There is a close connection in our minds between the notions of civilisation and gentleness. The ideal civilised man is a gentleman, kind and courteous, unselfish and a respecter of others’ rights and feelings – the antithesis of the savage, to whom might is right and no one’s feelings matter but his own.

“Wherever the presence and love and transcendent reality of God have been vividly apprehended, there has resulted an attitude of reverence towards the mystery of life as an expression of divine love, an attitude of brotherhood and fellow-feeling with all that can feel – in due order and proportion, of course, beginning with God’s rational creatures, but not stopping short of His other sentient creatures.”

Rev. Basil Wrighton, M.A.,
‘The True Civilisation’ – The Ark, December 1950
(reprinted in Reason, Religion and the Animals – Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, 1987)

“The widening of human rights beyond successive limits is exceedingly slow and reluctant, and many thousands of years had to elapse before the recognition of even so rudimentary and precarious a ius gentium as obtains today.

“…are we to say that the dog who bites his tormentor, or the cat who protects her kittens from our interference, is defending no shadow of a right and is owed no particle of consideration by us?

“If cruelty is sinful, it is a sin against justice, not against temperance. Whether people advert to any explicit ‘rights’ or not, what actually makes them treat animals decently is the innate sense of justice or fairness, not the truly Tartuffian reflection that the brutes form a useful ‘pathological phantom’ for rehearsing one’s benevolence to men”

Rev. Basil Wrighton, M.A.,
‘Justice and the Animals’ – The Ark, January 1952
(reprinted in Reason, Religion and the Animals – Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, 1987)

“To sum up: what ‘rights’ have I tried to vindicate for the animals? Only such as would save them from cruel abuses. What human rights would I curtail? Only the assumed right, on the score of rationality, to behave like brutes – or rather, demons. What novel principles have I introduced? Only such as decent people already act on without reflection. I insist only that natural affinity and God’s justice entitle these fellow-creatures to be treated by us as more than ‘things’ if less than ‘persons’; to be spared from pain and terror as far as rests with us; not to be killed without some sort of necessity; and, when they must be killed, to receive as swift and painless a death as our ‘anxious care’ can devise.”

Rev. Basil Wrighton, M.A.,

“Our minds are in compartments and to preserve our comfort we see to it that the contents of different compartments do not get mixed. May I remind you that ‘holiness’ carries the meaning of ‘wholeness’, so that he who aspires must needs see about breaking down these compartments. I hold that because of our kinship we have a clear ethical duty to protect animals from cruelty and sudden death, and not to eat them.

…anyone who accepts the idea of the One Life must accord to the animals the rights of younger brothers.”

Rev. C.V. Pink, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.,
(Liberal Catholic Church)
From a transcript of a lecture headed ‘A Christian Ethic’ and with reference to An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
World Forum, Spring 1953

“In the early days of the last century a group of Christians in Salford resolved that their Christian witness must be extended to include the rights of all God’s creatures in the kingdom of His love, and they made humane diet an essential part of their religious loyalty. We must teach men that this is not sentimentality or faddiness, but a necessary recognition and acceptance of the bond of life, which alone can ensure the full achievement of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

Rev. Philip Whiteman
Last Bible Christian Minister (later Unitarian)
The Vegetarian, July/August 1955

“We have insisted that animals, not being moral persons, have no personal rights as against their masters. Yet they have rights, ‘ratione Creatoris,’ that is, they cannot be maltreated without infringement of the rights of their Creator, and ‘ratione ordinis creatae,’ that is, without dislocating God’s order in nature. To the question: ‘Have animals rights of any kind as against their masters or owners?’ the Holy Office, whose answers are of course authoritative, replied: ‘Yes.’ ”

Dom Ambrose Agius O.S.B.
Cruelty to Animals
Catholic Truth Society tract, 1958

“…when man arrogates to himself the capacity to use animals in his service, irrespective of their own natural rights (and this, incidentally, has been a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church for long enough and is, in my judgement, basically irreconcilable with Christian teaching) it is to be condemned by the Christian.

“…I believe we shall be on the right track which leads finally to the end of violence and the achievement of a just social order which will leave none of God’s creatures out of that Kingdom which it is our Father’s good pleasure to give to us.”

The Revd. Lord Donald Soper
Tower Hill, 12.30, Epworth Press, 1963, p93

“He was a socialist, a pacifist and a penal reformer. He was vegetarian and teetotal and, an upholder of the rights of animals, he opposed both vivisection and cruel sports. While drawn to mysticism, he was actually an agnostic and, although this rationalism of his would hardly appeal to me, who am a Church of England clergyman, I nevertheless find, having myself abstained from flesh, fish and fowl for nearly seventeen years, his Creed of Kinship quite admirable.”

Rev. Thomas Hyslop, M.A.,
Rector of Salford and Little Rollright

From ‘Thoughts on Henry Salt’ in The British Vegetarian, July/August 1965 edition

“The irresistible conclusion, then, is that there is little hope of abolishing the manifold cruelties to animals which disgrace our society, until men give up the habit of eating flesh. While they think it is necessary, a matter of life or death to themselves, to prey on animals, the very suggestion that animals have rights and feelings similar to their own sets the instinct of self-preservation in motion, and a defensive reaction is set up which effectively pushes the rights out of sight and masks any cruelty that may be involved.”

Rev. Basil Wrighton, M.A.,
‘The Golden Age Must Return: a Catholic’s Views on Vegetarianism’ – The British Vegetarian, November 1965
(reprinted in Reason, Religion and the Animals – Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, 1987)

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