When I was growing up, the consensus of religious scholars was that animals have no soul, and therefore, there’s no place for them in heaven.
Indeed, that was the philosophy of Descartes, who wrote in Meditations that animals are automatons with no souls, mind, or reason.
Happy dog with a new toy? And what is that cat doing, anyway?
But as I have grown older, I have watched more people develop close relationships with animals, as close as any other family member. Many of us even refer to our companion animals as “children.”
As scientists show us that animals have feelings, and share community, the religious scholars began to debate that premise. Surely animals have a greater worth than just to be here for our pleasure.
Now we have priests and pastors crawling out of the woodwork to bless animals as a part of the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, celebrated…