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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Some Comments and a LIttle Can of Worms

Of course, I can do a whole post on comments about people misbehaving in various ways at Mass. Maybe tomorrow. Or never.

No, I'll post a few. The varying points of view make my head spin.  Which is probably a good thing, because I have a head cold.  My head is spinning anyhow. Maybe the centrifugal force will clear my sinuses.

Meanwhile,  here are a couple of recent thoughts from our guests.

O.P.T.C.J. Oh Sister, how glad I am to have found your site. May I please ask one favor? Would you consider adding the "gadget" to allow subscription via email?

I did that for you! It's in the sidebar there someplace. Just scroll down until you see it.

You may remember a few posts back a reader looking for the patron saints of headaches. She wrote and interesting follow up to let us know what's happened since.

Thanks for the tips, everybody. I go to the neurologist on Monday, and we'll see what s/he says. Meanwhile, my friend Ray's experimental brain surgery for cluster headaches...failed. He posted this the other day: "Time to face the reality that the physical world is never going to go my way anymore, and I have been reading much about how some of the great saints handled extreme pain and debilitating illnesses. I intend to stay around this beautiful little Earth as long as I can, but the spiritual realm will now be my focus. I cannot help myself physically, but if I can help others through my journeys into faith, pain and love, I will endeavor to be the best debilitated person for God and for others that I can be." It made me cry.

Way to go, Ray!  Time to switch patron saints for Ray. St. Bernadette steps up to the plate.  You may recall that when Our Lady showed Bernadette the healing spring, Our Lady expressly told Bernadette that the spring was  not for her.  That must have been a blow. Bernadette lived a life of pain, too.  She is the patron saint for chronic illness.

Chronic sounds better than 'acute', doesn't it? It isn't. Acute refers to a temporary problem. Chronic refers to one that isn't going anywhere.

So....one last new one. A question that I've already answered but that will no doubt cause a big uproar again:

When my mother spoke to our priest about the guilt she felt for putting our family dog down, he told her it was not a sin because dogs have no souls. Do Catholics believe this? Will there be no dogs in heaven?

Yes! Thank you, Father!  The difference between animals and people is that animals do not have immortal souls. If they did, you wouldn't be able to have them for dinner or put them out of their misery.

The question of whether or not there will be dogs in Heaven remains a mystery. Some very learned people think that, because we love our animals so much, we will be able to see them again behind the Pearly Gates where they are permanently safe from the vehicles that put them there.

I personally think this is nonsense.  Because your dog DOES NOT have an immortal soul, if your dog is in heaven, it's just some kind of hologram dog, because your dog's soul did not live on as yours will.  If you think about it, it is drastically unfair that your dog gets to go to heaven because he had a bowl with a name on it. If he gets to go, then every slimy creature and insect and badger and skunk that every lived...EVER...should also get to go. And the idea that that would happen seems extremely silly to this old nun. And I actually love dogs.

Living with God for eternity isn't enough for you? You have to have Mr. Poofy and his little dog bed for eternal happiness? Please.


Anonymous said...

I heard a story that St. Patrick was asked by a chieftain he was trying to convert if he went to heaven would his beloved wolfhounds be there (since heaven was such a place of happiness and he felt he wouldn't be happy without them). St. Patrick said yes, if he needed them to be happy (the catch of course being that he'd be so happy in heaven he wouldn't actually need the dogs!).

Jane Wetzel said...

Hi Sister- love reading your blog... I also love animals..If Heaven is all what it is supppose to be...we will know everything and we will have no wants.So, dont you think that if we get there and we REALLY want our pet or anything else for that matter...God will give it to us.?? I am betting that he will..IF WE WANT IT. I am also betting that if we want to travel or do ANYTHING ..God will provide..That is what Heaven is all about...paradise with our Father forever

Jane Wetzel said...

By the way...(add on to my comment above :) ..I really dislike it when the priest at our church is asked by a child if their dog will go to Heaven and he tells them the "soul" dilema...in your words sister "PLEASE"..How can a child possibly understand that????? I like my explanation much better..... no disrespect intended..

Anonymous said...

I used to think dogs were just like any another animal, Such as a fish or a bird. They are not, they have souls, like you and I. How did they become "man's best friend?" They serve their master, they provide protection, companionship, and are loyal. All Soul's Day honors all souls. How well do you know your dog? Have you ever had a dog. Truly get to know one, and you will find out.

DollyFinn said...

The funny thing is in this whole Dogs going to heaven debate is that my dogs are the ones who helped me understand God's love for us. See, I grew up being very abused and always feared God because I thought he was like my parents. Knowing how much I love my dogs, my husband (a very wise protestant) told me I had to realize that God loves me at least as much as I love my dogs. That changed things for me and I went back to church. So, at the very least, I think my dogs deserve to go to heaven.

Apiarist said...

Good day to all,
Since God in His Majesty chose to create animals on Earth for mankind,wouldn't the line of thinking be that Heaven(and the new Earth which will be created after the dissolution of the old) would also have God's creations present into eternity? By folks saying "no, this would never be" this is placing limits on the Power of God in our minds!He knows each of us more than we can ever know ourselves & the experiences in our lives that evolve our souls also encompass the love of His creations (dogs included) If this were not so,why did He create them? USCCB catechism 2416 tells us "By their very existence,creatures of the world bless Him and give Him glory". We humans share in this worship to God.I think we are all bound together by this mutual and eternal Love of our Heavenly Father.I think we will all (humans transfigured,animals,all of God's creations!) be present together in eternity to stand in His Presence and praise Him forever.

notanillusion said...

I personally don't believe that animals don't have immortal souls. I know that's problematic because I'm an omnivore, and if one does, don't they all? I'm not saying I've got the logic completely down. I'm just saying that my dog shows me God's love for me because he loves me no matter how crappy I am. There's something eternal to that, and I like to think it's God manifesting in some way to remind me how dear I am to Him. If I'm wrong, and I make it to the right side of the gates, I'm betting that'll no longer be a concern. And given the amount of other things I could be wrong about, I think it's a forgivable one.

M said...

Thank you for answering my question. With all due respect, I hope you are wrong.

Unknown said...

Do dogs go to heaven? That is a tough question without actual proof either way, yes and no. Let me try and stretch this a bit in the hopes it can help an other like it has helped me. This particular blog thread is not uncommon but why is it being taken so far? No question I have ever heard concerning the salvation of animals has ever had depth, now that I think about it neither have they had truth that could be dug out for joy. Years back a loving Church Minister explained an old testament scripture I carry with me to eliminate confusion and promote joy. First, to help answer all those questions concerning animal and human relationships, IT IS PROVEN WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT ANIMAL AND MAN ARE TWO DIFFERENT CREATURES, this much we have to go on as an undisputable truth. Though this difference may be proven repeatedly rarely is it included when the question of animal ascension is mentioned. Almost like the very difference is to be made a communicably unspeakable. There is an old testament scripture that reads "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" ( Ecclesiastes 3:21 ) This scripture puts a difference between man and animal ( beast ) as was seen by an old testament visionary. He was simply explaining that in his earthly travel, in his good times and in his bad times, through *observation, watching both man and animal come and go, with the gift of being able to see spirit, he noticed that there was a difference, and casually mentions here that it should be accepted as *Principle. That is, let's not argue ( or fight ) over a difference in things. We never have, why start now? Now if you will notice, this visionary did not really bring heaven and hell into this man and animal relationship, instead he simply sais that the animal and all-the-animal as he has seen always goes down. Man goes up. What is down, where is down, who knows. It is to mean a difference, it is a direction not a destination. He was fortunate to have been able to watch the ending of man and animal and it taught him the difference, neither good nor bad. Simply a difference. Next you will be asking the Church, 'Can we teach an animal a difference' only so that later you can ask the church the first question "Do dogs go to heaven". Dog and man are different, not dog and man are individual. I see the difference, don't you? :)

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that God is ever cruel - and it would be a cruel trick to present us with creatures who are loyal, loving, and soliciting of our love (and whom we love in return), who have distinctive personalities and "ways" and who elicit deep feelings from us, whom we hope and expect to meet again in heaven, and then destroy them utterly. Why would God give them what appears in every way to be a soul, knowing that we would care for them, and then break our hearts? It would be the cruelest of jokes. And yes, for many of us, heaven would be no heaven without Fido and his basket, and all of our dear animal friends. If what I have seen when I looked into the eyes of beloved pets was NOT a soul, then I cannot trust to anything I see or believe. St. Francis preached to the animals, and why bother if they had no souls? That is good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a stronger analogy will help here. Of course we "love" our pets, but hopefully it is not the same level or kind of love we have for humans. When we are experiencing the Beatific Vision (i.e., the pure love of God) our little glorified minds will not have the capacity to focus on our love for our long lost pet. I think we can all agree that sexual love is pretty powerful. Do you think of your DOG OR CAT when you are having sex? I certainly hope not. You are thinking of one thing - your lover (unless you are a pig, then you are thinking of one thing, and that is yourself.) So next time you are "making love" try thinking of your animals at the same time and see if they get equal - or even some - of the attention. If so, then maybe you need to consult someone other than Sister MM. And that's not cruel.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sister, not to beat a dead horse, pun intended, but are we not destined for a new and eternal Earth and a resurrected body? There could be plenty of room on the new world that God will create for all of those slimy creatures, including skunks and insects. Perhaps the new skunks will smell of roses and other beautiful flowers? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...


I looked in a few other forums and this topic brought out a lot of heated emotion!

I work in animal rescue,and due to the economy we are seeing a lot of literally starving horses right now. Witnessing the terrible suffering these skeletal animals are undergoing certainly makes me ardently hope that they will at least be on the 'new earth'.

I have seen it printed on Catholic websites that the suffering of the animals is due to man's fall;that we had tainted all of creation which had been originally 'found good'.

Wouldn't it make sense- if that is the case- that since the animals have suffered with us, they at least get some chance at a happy afterlife?

Anonymous said...

An old man and his dog were walking down this dirt road with fences on both sides, they came to a gate in the fence and looked in. It was a nice grassy, woody area, just what a 'huntin' dog and man would like, but it had a sign saying "No Trespassing" so they walked on.

They came to a beautiful gate with a person in white robes standing there. "Welcome to Heaven," he said. The old man was happy and started in with his dog following him. The gatekeeper stopped him. "Dogs aren't allowed. I'm sorry, but he can't come in with you."

"What kind of Heaven won't allow dogs? If he can't come in, then I will stay out with him. He's been my faithful companion all his life. I can't desert him now."

"Suit yourself, but I have to warn you, the Devil's on this road and he'll try to sweet talk you into his area, he'll promise you anything, but the dog can't go there either. If you won't leave the dog, you'll spend Eternity on this road."

So the old man and dog went on. They came to a rundown fence with a gap in it, no gate, just a hole. Another old man was inside.

"S'cuse me, Sir, my dog and I are getting mighty tired. Mind if we come in and sit in the shade for a while?"

"Of course, there's some cold water under that tree over there. Make yourselves comfortable."

"You're sure my dog can come in? the man down the road said dogs weren't allowed anywhere."

"Would you come in if you had to leave the dog?"

"No, sir, that's why I didn't go to Heaven, he said the dog couldn't come in. We'll be spending Eternity on this road, and a glass of cold water and some shade would be mighty fine right about now. But I won't come in if my buddy here can't come too, and that's final?"

The man smiled a big smile and said, "Welcome to Heaven."

The old man said, "You mean this is Heaven? Dogs ARE allowed? How come that fellow down the road said they weren't?"

"That was the Devil and he gets all the people who are willing to give up a life-long companion for a comfortable place to stay. They soon find out their mistake, but then it's too late. The dogs come here, the fickle people stay there. GOD wouldn't allow dogs to be banned from Heaven. After all, He created them to be man's companions in life, why would he separate them in death?

Anonymous said...

"So next time you are "making love" try thinking of your animals at the same time and see if they get equal - or even some - of the attention. If so, then maybe you need to consult someone other than Sister MM. And that's not cruel. "

I'm not thinking of my children at that time either, but that doesn't mean that I've forgotten them or that I'm willing to spend eternity as a kind of lobotomized version of myself, having forgotten everyone I love because my love for God is greater. That, to my mind, is not only a bizarre concept of heaven (and of God) but, yes, it is indeed cruel, and I'll repeat that I don't believe God is ever cruel.