Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Pope Francis: Doggie Heaven Is Real

 

During a recent appearance, Pope Francis comforted a little boy who had just lost his dog. The Pontiff said, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

I never think much about this issue until I’m the one dealing with a dying pet. I’ve lost two Corgis in the past several years, and each required lengthy conversations with my young daughters about the cute little guys’ eternal resting place. Though I was non-committal, I employed several “maybes” and “could be’s” to comfort crying kids who wanted a firm promise they would see their puppies again. If I’m being honest, the thought also comforted me more than a little.

Apparently, the official Catholic position is that animals will not be gamboling amongst the clouds because they have no souls. However, I’m unclear how many other denominations have an official position one way or the other.

I assume conservatives would stress if there’s a Doggie Heaven, there also must be a Doggie Hell. My wife would require equal access for cats and horses while the Westboro types would insist God Hates Nags.

Since we have several learned Ricochetti steeped in diverse faith traditions, let me know your thoughts. Is the Pope right that we should see our pets in the afterlife? Also, I would like to see a photo of your pet. Here is mine, Calvin the Wonderbeagle, in repose:

IMG_1348

There are 52 comments.

  1. Boomerang Inactive

    …and the lion will lie down with the lamb.

    Yes I think animals will be there. The talking animals will.

    • #1
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:01 PM PST
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  2. Acook Member

    If there are not dogs in heaven, it’s not worth going. IMHO.

    • #2
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:05 PM PST
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  3. Spin Coolidge

    All dogs go to heaven. Everybody knows that. Cats…not so much.

    • #3
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:16 PM PST
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  4. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Aww. . .!IMG_1348

    • #4
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:18 PM PST
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  5. John Walker Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Corgis

    Corgis!

    Corgis!

    At left, Boots; at right, Rhys. Click image to enlarge.

    • #5
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:23 PM PST
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  6. Aaron Miller Member

    Nags! Nice one.

    From the Catholic perspective, Heaven is a physical as well as spiritual paradise. There will certainly be animals, both cooler and kinder than here.

    Particular animals? Former pets? It’s not impossible. That animals have no souls does not prevent God from recreating a pet in some glorified form just for you.

    It might be that in Heaven any animal can be like a pet – a friendly companion.

    • #6
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:27 PM PST
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  7. Boomerang Inactive

    I had a great cartoon, but the formatting is all messed up!

    • #7
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:48 PM PST
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  8. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    John Walker:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Corgis

    Corgis!

    Corgis!

    At left, Boots; at right, Rhys. Click image to enlarge.

    Great names! I had two tricolor Pembrokes, Chester and Genevieve. Both looked nearly identical, but here’s the latter:

    Genevieve

    When Genevieve passed away, I wanted a third Corgi. But the breed has gotten so insanely popular they were nearly impossible to find. (Outside of a paying thousands to be on a breeder’s waiting list.)

    • #8
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:49 PM PST
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  9. Sabrdance Member

    The lack of souls nixes questions of salvation, but the New Heaven and the New Earth are described as physical places, newly created, and all creation will worship God. Creation will be made whole just as we are made whole.

    Will we spend time playing fetch with our predeceased pets? Probably not. But if the rocks and trees can praise God, I think a Corgi can, too.

    • #9
    • December 12, 2014, at 5:56 PM PST
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  10. KC Mulville Inactive

    Does that mean we’re going to have friendly raptors and T-Rexes?

    Not one to contradict the pope, because I doubt the pope was trying to explain a matter of theological precision, but I prefer to take heed of Isaiah, as quoted by Paul: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

    Translation for modern times: “you got no idea what’s gonna happen, so quit worrying about it.”

    • #10
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:00 PM PST
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  11. Guruforhire Member

    This does not excite me as I am scared of dogs (irrational thing).

    • #11
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:01 PM PST
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  12. sophrosyne Inactive

    We did all we could to ensure an eternal snacking place in paradise for this glorious specimen of cocker spaniel merriment by christening him “Buckley.”

    Buckley

    • #12
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:42 PM PST
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  13. sophrosyne Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    John Walker:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Corgis

    Corgis!

    Corgis!

    At left, Boots; at right, Rhys. Click image to enlarge.

    Great names! I had two tricolor Pembrokes, Chester and Genevieve. Both looked nearly identical, but here’s the latter:

    Genevieve

    When Genevieve passed away, I wanted a third Corgi. But the breed has gotten so insanely popular they were nearly impossible to find. (Outside of a paying thousands to be on a breeder’s waiting list.)

    Have you looked into a breed rescue organization?

    • #13
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:48 PM PST
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  14. Paul DeRocco Member

    When you die, I guess you better remember to bring mosquito repellant.

    • #14
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:50 PM PST
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  15. Aaron Miller Member

    It does raise an interesting question about the essential worth of various animals, plants, and even bacteria. The natural world reflects the moral world. There is ugliness in nature because of sin. That ugliness will not survive the world’s redemption. So which creatures will find reflections in paradise?

    If the lion will lay down with the lamb, will the mosquito fly with the butterfly? I’d rule out such vampires, except we do drink the blood of Christ every Sunday afterall.

    • #15
    • December 12, 2014, at 6:59 PM PST
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  16. Knotwise the Poet Member

    Not being a Catholic, I don’t think I’d ever heard the doctrine that animals have no souls and cannot comment on what implications for doggie heaven are in that theology. Mormon doctrine says that yes, animals will be in heaven in perfected resurrected form like humans.

    • #16
    • December 12, 2014, at 7:07 PM PST
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  17. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    When God created the heavens and the earth, He pronounced it all good. The Catechism doesn’t specifically address animals except in the context of “love thy neighbor,” kindness to other creatures, etc. I get really tired of some people I know who pound away at the soul-less state of animals. The same ones ruin Santa for the wee ones as well…St. Nicholas and all that. If you ask me, there are plenty of animals who deserve a place in paradise before some people. Animals are sinless…they do what God created them to do, except when people intervene through abuse and maltreatment. (I’m not a theologian, and I don’t want to start a discussion about the fall.) As Pope Francis says, however, “who am I to judge.” If God wants his creation for eternity, then eternity it shall be.

    • #17
    • December 12, 2014, at 8:07 PM PST
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  18. Aaron Miller Member

    Can we at least agree that cats are condemned to Hell (otherwise known as YouTube)?

    • #18
    • December 12, 2014, at 8:46 PM PST
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  19. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    sophrosyne: Have you looked into a breed rescue organization?

    Yes, we adopted Genevieve from a rescue. We spent about 6 months looking for another rescue Corgi but one never came available. Also, Corgi-specific rescue had a significant waiting list that also required a large donation.

    I didn’t want to wait for years, so we adopted Calvin from another great local rescue.

    • #19
    • December 12, 2014, at 8:57 PM PST
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  20. Snirtler Member

    Catholic here. My understanding is our pets and other animals have sensitive, but not rational souls (in the sense that Aristotle and Aquinas understood them) and that heaven is made only for rational souls.

    • #20
    • December 12, 2014, at 9:37 PM PST
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  21. Mike Rapkoch Member

    Snirtler:Catholic here. My understanding is our pets and other animals have sensitive, but not rational souls (in the sense that Aristotle and Aquinas understood them) and that heaven is made only for rational souls.

    That is the basic teaching of Thomas Aquinas, but there are some other ways of thinking about this. For example, Augustine described memory as a bringing into now what has occurred in the past. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but it seems to me that memory is a shadow of eternity and that all that has happened will be made eternally present and full. Then at least we’ll recall our pets with such great acuity that they will become truly present. That’s a too mystical for my weak mind, but, after lecturing my kids on Aquinas and the souls of animals (do NOT try that at home), and seeing the tears my attempt prompted, I’ve been trying for many years to find a way out of the conundrum. For now, that’s the best I can do. Peter Kreeft talks about this somewhere. I’ll see if I can find it. He disagrees with Aquinas.

    As for my own dog:

    378

    And I kind of hate her.

    • #21
    • December 12, 2014, at 10:23 PM PST
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  22. spaceman_spiff Member

    Aaron Miller:Can we at least agree that cats are condemned to Hell (otherwise known as YouTube)?

    Here you go.

    • #22
    • December 12, 2014, at 11:08 PM PST
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  23. spaceman_spiff Member

    Acook:If there are not dogs in heaven, it’s not worth going. IMHO.

    “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers

    • #23
    • December 12, 2014, at 11:09 PM PST
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  24. spaceman_spiff Member

    ottonlila

    Lila and Otto at the Madison Beach Hotel. Otto was impressed with the thread count of the sheets.

    They are both rescues.

    • #24
    • December 12, 2014, at 11:16 PM PST
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  25. Grendel Member

    Aaron Miller: From the Catholic perspective, Heaven is a physical as well as spiritual paradise. There will certainly be animals, both cooler and kinder than here.

    I presume you mean that after the General Resurrection our bodies will have to be somewhere. On the one hand, a glorified body is outside of space and time. On the other hand, there is no reason that our bodies would be the only bits of physical creation to remain. I have always assumed that the glorified new earth mentioned in Revelation 21, if it comes to pass, entailed the whole Cosmos, plants and animals as well as rocks. Not being a pet lover, I also easily assumed that pets from the here and now are one more earthly attachment that we have to shed.

    Aaron Miller: Particular animals? Former pets? It’s not impossible. That animals have no souls does not prevent God from recreating a pet in some glorified form just for you.

    When you think about what “being in Heaven” means–the Beatific Vision, total self-giving loving communion with God–it is clear that you won’t care. William F. Buckley recounted the temporizing response from Father Ronald Knox to a woman who asked whether her dog would be in Heaven. “I just can’t be happy without my little Frou-Frou” she declared.

    “Madame”, said Knox. “If you need Frou-Frou to make you happy in heaven, then you will have Frou-Frou.”

    After all, if there will be no giving and taking in marriage–i.e., no sex, as Mark Twain mourned–why should one expect pets?!

    • #25
    • December 13, 2014, at 2:20 AM PST
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  26. Casey Inactive

    My pet is camera shy.

    • #26
    • December 13, 2014, at 6:06 AM PST
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  27. Kay of MT Member

    My avatar is my parrot Zac, and she has a soul. She talks to me, gives me kisses, and nips me when she disagrees with me. She has climbed upon my poor weakened body when it was ill, taken my finger in her talon and held it quietly for hours giving me comfort. She is a sentient, intelligent, and thinking creature. She solves problems, can unlock her cage, unscrew a bolt. I cannot imagine her soul being blotted out of existence upon death. Wherever I am after my death, I will await her coming because she will outlive me.

    • #27
    • December 13, 2014, at 8:04 AM PST
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  28. Red Feline Inactive

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, cats go to Heaven! This is my gorgeous Jura shortly after I picked him up at a cat show from the display of stray cats looking for homes. I had no intentions of finding a cat as I had two Siamese females at home. When he looked me straight in the eye, and told me how unhappy he was, I couldn’t resist him. I immediately became his slave.

    He was four-months old, and starving: you can see he is too thin. At first, when I fed the cats, he went mad scrambling to get to the food. Didn’t take too long to change that! I think he thought he had died already and come to Heaven.

    He grew up to be a very handsome animal.

    • #28
    • December 13, 2014, at 8:53 AM PST
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  29. Red Feline Inactive

    Kay of MT:My avatar is my parrot Zac, and she has a soul. She talks to me, gives me kisses, and nips me when she disagrees with me. She has climbed upon my poor weakened body when it was ill, taken my finger in her talon and held it quietly for hours giving me comfort. She is a sentient, intelligent, and thinking creature. She solves problems, can unlock her cage, unscrew a bolt. I cannot imagine her soul being blotted out of existence upon death. Wherever I am after my death, I will await her coming because she will outlive me.

    Of course she will be with you, Kay! Don’t we human primates take such comfort from the thought that life may go on after death?

    • #29
    • December 13, 2014, at 8:55 AM PST
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  30. Red Feline Inactive

    Grendel:After all, if there will be no giving and taking in marriage–i.e., no sex, as Mark Twain mourned–why should one expect pets?!

    I’ve always thought that there would be no marriage in the afterlife as there would be no need for it: no mothers and children to be protected.

    We will all be a transformed into a different energy form, and who says we can’t have fun with each other in uniting our energy forms when we feel like it? No sex: no going! :)

    And who says that the energy forms of our beloved pets won’t be there too?

    What a huge place it will have to be to contain all the life forms that have gone before homo sapien! Will all those life forms be there too? I like monkeys! Hope there are lots of those there.

    What fun to speculate and let the imagination soar!

    • #30
    • December 13, 2014, at 9:06 AM PST
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