Pope John Paul II “taught love for animals”

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2005:

Pope John Paul II, 84, died on April 3, 2005. Recalled
the PETA-owned <www.GoVeg.com> web site, “Pope John Paul II taught
love for animals more than any other pope in recent memory. In 1990,
His Holiness proclaimed that ‘the animals possess a soul and men must
love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren.’ He went on to
say that all animals are ‘fruit of the creative action of the Holy
Spirit and merit respect’ and that they are ‘as near to God as men
are.’ After he became Pope, His Holiness went to Assisi, the
birthplace of St. Francis, and spoke of the saint’s love for
animals. He declared, ‘We, too, are called to a similar
attitude.’ PETA is grateful that His Holiness spoke out so
beautifully for animals and their souls, and we hope that his
successor will also speak out for them with the same love and
While Pope John Paul II never formally responded to petitions
on animal issues, the Vatican under his direction shifted in small
steps toward more animal-friendly policies.

In 1994, for instance, a new catechism stated in passages
2415-2418 that “Animals are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with
his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and
give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness.”
These declarations were qualified with affirmations that
animals may be used for food, clothing, work, entertainment, and
medical and scientific research “if it remains within reasonable
limits. It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer
or die needlessly,” the catechism added, only to conclude, “It is
likewise unworthy to spend money on animals that should as a priority
go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should
not direct to them the affection due only to humans.”
Pope John Paul II in September 2001 approved the use of
animal organ transplants to save human life, nine months after
Belgian theologian Marie Hendrickx hinted at the content of his
eventual statement in the semi-official Vatican newspaper
L’Osservatore Romano. In the same essay, which was widely believed
to represent the thinking of the Pope, Hendrickx denounced
bullfighting and other forms of ritual animal abuse sometimes
associated with Catholic festivals, and went on to criticize factory
farming and fur trapping.
Born Karol Wojtyla in Wadowice, Poland, ordained a priest in
1946, and made a Cardinal in 1967, Pope John Paul II in his 1984
official biography God’s Broker described at length a dream he had in
1969 about a starving mother cat and six kittens, who find no help
from Jesuit and Anglican clergy, but are fed by an impoverished old
woman. Wrote Anton Gronowicz, who transcribed the Pope’s account,
“I had never seen such a sad expression on the face of this man.”
(Details of the dream are accessible at

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