.- In the days following the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, the animal-rights activist group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) voiced its own unexpected support for the new Holy Father. The group, which often finds itself at odds with Christian groups, praised Pope Benedict for his teaching on the sacredness of all life, including animals.
PETA cited then Cardinal Ratzinger, who said three years ago that, “[W]e can see that [animals] are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them.”
“Animals too,” he continued, “are God’s creatures and even if they do not have the same direct relationship to God that man has, they are still creatures of His will, creatures we must respect as companions in creation, and as important elements in the creation.”
“Degrading of human creatures to a commodity”, the Pope added, “seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”
The letter, signed by PETA director Bruce Friedrich, a self-proclaimed “devout Catholic” despite the anti-Catholic nature of PETA’s propaganda, asked the Pope to continue to speak out for “these exploited beings.”
Offering something of an olive branch, Friedrich closed the letter to the Holy Father saying, “We turn to you now, as you take on your momentous duties, and humbly ask that you lead the way into a new era of respect and compassion for all beings…”
Catholic teaching about the relationship between human beings and animals is at odds with PETA’s claims that animals and human persons are equal.