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Do animals have souls? A Christian response.

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Aristotle was the first to indentify the soul as the source of life and being in anything. Thomas Aquinas wrote that an animal does have a soul, as it is a being. The animal soul, as defined both Aristotle and Aquinas recognized that the soul is not located in any specific part of the body but is a part of the total being. As the Catholic belief is that humans are instilled by God with an immortal soul, Aquinas could not say conclusively that the soul of an animal would also be eternal, but he did state that it was unproven as such but not observable in the same capacity as the human soul, given the post-mortem activity of certain saints and the resurrection of Christ on the third day to give example of what we should expect at the end of time. As far as animals having a soul? Well, the intelligence level is arguably not the same as a human, but it certainly does have a soul as it has being. Is it immortal, we'll have to find out in God's time. But for the time being, love your animal, if for nothing else, as a wonderful gift from God that brings His creation and friendship with you in a meaningful way. Since Heaven will provide us with wonderful surprises, so your animal may be there for you; as with God, all things are possible. For fun, look up the poem "The Hound of Heaven"

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1 Shawn Bose = ""In 1990, Pope John Paul II proclaimed [in a general audience] that ‘the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren’. He added 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’. The Pope emphasized that ‘animals possess the divine spark of life – the living quality that is the soul’."Read this entire article "Respecting Animals: St Thomas Aquinas and St Francis of Assisi" by Dr Judith Barad, a Full Professor at Indiana State University, specialises in ethics, and the philosophy of religion."
2 David Zuniga PhD MDIV MA = "Hi Shawn, Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy hearing your insights. As a Buddhist and vegetarian I appreciate that Pope John Paul II stated animals have souls, and that they are fruit of the creative action and merit respect, and further that they are as near to God as men. If that's all true, from a Catholic perspective, how does one justify eating meat? The former Pope's comments also raise the question of how he's defining consciousness. If animals posses a soul etc., while animals can be intelligent and have feelings, they generally don't have the same range of and cognitive potential as humans. They also don't experience the same complexity of emotions as humans. If the Pope believes they are "as near to God as men" what is actually required to be near God as animals don't make choices in the same way, think in the same way etc. I appreciate the Pope's support of animals, but his form of support seems to raise larger questions. Thanks for your stimulating post! Peace, Rev. Dr. David Zuniga"