HGs World Commentary
Commentary by H.G. Listiak
Dogs and Cats in Church

Friday 3/19/2004

Welcome to My World, where just when I think I've seen it all, along comes another one. Now we've got the churches reaching out for pets with the long arm of the Lord. At St. Francis Episcopal in Stamford, Connecticut, they now hold holy communion for dogs and cats lined up at the altar to receive the body of Christ. We also have several clergy making house calls to visit sick pets and an increase in officiating at pet funerals and what they call "Bark Mitzvahs." That one bothers me since a 13 year old would be 91 in dog years. Temple Beth Shir Shalom in Santa Monica, California, even has an animal prayer, "May God protect and defend you, always shield you from fleas." An Episcopalian lady from Florida claims that her dog, who was diagnosed with lymphoma, was touched and prayed over by the church rector and his cancer is now in remission. She says there is no reason why faith healing shouldn't work on animals. Of course, this new four legged leap of faith is for house pets only. Cattle ranchers will still have to hold their prayer meetings at home. And there is considerable concern that dogs at the after church coffee hour might bite children eating cookies. And then there is the problem of larger dogs drooling at the altar, but they say natures miracle and a roll of paper towels takes care of that. Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate critters, a good saddle horse, hunting dog, or even a playful cat. But folks, I think we are getting close to the edge when we push the animal kingdom into the big one. So what's next? What's the next step in this evolutionary pattern? It would have to be an animal clergy. Perhaps preaching dog-ma and catty-cism at St. Lassie's Cathedral, studying scriptures like "The Lord is my German Shepard, I shall not want." Two things however must be avoided. First, cats must not be baptized by immersion and second, do not let Mel Gibson use the idea for another movie, as I see it ... I'm H.G. Listiak.

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