Because Pope Francis Said So!

So, I love Pope Francis. Who doesn’t love Pope Francis? Liberals “love” him because they think he is “one of them”, Youth love him because of his sincerity, Catholics love him because of his humility…

He may not be my favorite of Popes, but I truly believe in his desire for peace, and his inclination to humility. 

But, seriously, technology today has given us the ability to really take things too far. “The definition of the first Vatican Council (1869–70), established amid considerable controversy, states the conditions under which a pope may be said to have spoken infallibly, or ex cathedra (“from his chair” as supreme teacher). It is prerequisite that the pope intend to demand irrevocable assent from the entire church in some aspect of faith or morals.” If he speaks or writes something that is not compatible with Church teaching; IT IS NOT FALLIBLE. The rules are pretty simple (yet, somehow it seems, un…). Read them in their entirety here and here .

Imagine if back in the Middle Ages when bad men made themselves Popes and such… were idolized and followed as much as Pope Francis is today! Imagine if the Catholic people had not known their faith enough to see that what Pope Alexander VI was doing and promoting was A MORTAL SIN. (He fathered illegitimate kids for crying out loud!)

So, what’s the point here? The point is pretty clear (and I am sure most of ya’ll know what I am going to say.) Media outlets, Catholic or Secular, all are totally engaged in every single word that comes out of the Pope’s mouth. From his movie favs, part of his secret to managing job stress (6 hours of “sleeping like a log”), to the “now fact” that all dogs go to heaven!? If Pope Pius XII was idolized and followed as much as Pope Francis, Modern Day Catholicism would look a whole lot prettier, but more on that later.

So, just because a blogger on USCatholic.org (for ONE example) proclaimed the news that “Pope Francis has finally laid to rest the debate over whether or not animals can go to heaven” …. it doesn’t mean it’s true. The blogger goes on to say,

My favorite movie as a child was All Dogs Go to Heaven, an animated tale about a German shepherd named Charlie who is killed by his Bulldog business partner. With the help of an orphaned girl who can speak to animals, Charlie returns to earth to seek revenge on his killer.

Though this plot seems complex, dark, and ridiculous for a children’s movie, I remember watching it over and over again. The idea that “all dogs go to heaven” comforted me and instilled the idea in my mind that dogs were equal to people.

(Dramatic Sigh). Has anyone ever thought to look up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church about this “debate” ? No? Maybe because it is not as pretty, easy to read, short/too the point, familiar, “nice & touchy feely” as a blog post. Maybe the person interested in the topic just has no idea where to look for the information and googles “Catholic” and “Do animals go to heaven?” Who really knows? The point is; just because a person writes a pretty blog post, with an adorable picture and affectionate words that we can all agree with and feel great about, it doesn’t mean it is infallible – it doesn’t mean it’s true – it doesn’t mean it’s fact. The same goes for the Pope. (See Papal infallibility links again.) “IF IT SAYS SO” in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you can bet that YES, its true. The CCC was compiled, written, and intricately gone over by many theologians, doctors of the Church, whathaveyou. It is what we, as Catholics, are supposed to use to LEARN OUR FAITH, so we know what to do and say if questions such as, “Do dogs go to heaven?” arise. If it cannot be found, in exact words, in the CCC, than history, reason, science, and approved sources from the Church may be used in the study and research of the subject.

On the subject of animals going to heaven, an excellent article by Dr. Richard Geraghty, PhD is linked here. Dr. Richard explains, “One principle is that all living things have a soul. Here soul is defined as what makes an organic body live. Now when any living thing dies, its soul is separated from its body. In the case of plants and animals the soul goes out of existence. But in the case of man, the soul remains in existence because it is a spiritual or immaterial thing. Consequently, it differs from the souls of animals in two important respects. First, it is the seat of intelligence or reason.  For this reason a man is held responsible for his actions in a way that animals are not. Secondly, the soul is immortal. A thing which has no physical parts cannot fall apart or be poisoned or be crushed or be put out of existence. For this reason the souls of the saved will always be aware of themselves as enjoying the vision of God for all eternity. This enjoyment will be the result of having chosen to act on earth in such a way that one did the will of God rather than one’s own will.  And the souls of the damned will be aware of themselves as never attaining this vision of God because they have shown by their lives on earth that they did not wish this vision but instead preferred their own will.” 

(CCC 356) Of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”.219 He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”,220 and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity….

Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Our souls are immortal. (CCC  366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.235 )

Our true home is in Heaven. We were made to be with God for eternity. See any Baltimore Catechism and it explains this very well. Animals, on the other hand are not created in the image of God, and do not have immortal souls. The math is pretty easy for this topic. No matter how much I would LOVEEEEEEE to see my dog Maya in heaven (if I make it to heaven that is..) I will not see her there. But! I will see God (AND The Blessed Virgin Mary AND all the Saints and the Angels, including my Guardian angel!) This is enough. GOD is enough. To be sad and putter around about our animals not meeting us at heaven’s gate is … well, pathetic. This is coming from a lover of animals folks. GOD is GOD! GOD is eternal, unimaginable LOVE! We were CREATED for the SOLE REASON (I am using caps again, sorry, I get excited), of being in HIS presence in heaven! WOW! If this thought isn’t enough to satisfy you… well, you should probably get that fixed… 

Anyway! Let’s be honest; Pope Francis is awesome, but that doesn’t mean every word he says is an absolute truth that was handed down by GOD to the Church. The Church even says this about Popes. (Papal Infallibility links again folks?) Let’s try not to be so easily led along by our feelings and wants; let us rather learn and know our faith truly, so that we are capable of comprehending more of what is true or false, regarding the Church… and so that we can make well-informed and intelligent decisions.

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