BY DAN FRANK
THE FORMER Beatle and animal activist Sir Paul McCartney has praised Pope Benedict XVI for reminding Catholics to be compassionate towards animals.
Mr McCartney, who was raised a Catholic, made the comments in an interview for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) 25th anniversary.
“God bless him! I think it would be fantastic if someone in his position, who’s able to reach so many people, took a strong stance on that, because one of PETA’s strongest points, and one of mine, is compassion,” he said.
“That certainly is a basic tenet of the Catholic religion. I think it would be terrific if he took a strong stance and urged people to come out against that kind of thing.” In 2002 a German journalist, Peter Seewald, asked Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, if Catholicism permits man to make use of or eat animals. Pope Benedict explained that, while it is not forbidden to eat animals, they must always be treated with respect.
“Animals, too, are God’s creatures,” he said. “Even if they do not have the same direct relation to God that man has, they are creatures of his will, creatures we must respect as companions in creation and as important elements in the creation.
The Pope then added: “Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”