Blessing of Animals?

Anyone else do this besides the American Episcopalian Church? What purpose does it serve, I thought animals souls (if they have any) ended when they physically died? Do the catholics do it? I know they're big on having bibles and crucifixes blessed, so what about something living like an animal?

This came up a while ago. I'm still waiting for any type of scriptural evidence that animals (or trees, or bacteria) don't have souls. I've heard that some Muslims don't believe women have souls. I don't find that any more rediculous than the common christian contention that only humans do.

"Do the catholics do it?"

I've never seen or heard of this being done...

Actually, I found out that some catholics do it.


When God breathed into man he became a living soul. God spoke everything else into existense, so to assume that animals have souls (eternal or not) is reaching IMHO. We have tried to define the term soul with certain perameters, and have found essentially the same things in animals to some degree. But I don't think that animals have souls in the same sense that humans have souls.

If animals have souls, then what about plants? What about deep sea coral life? What about insects? Etc, etc. Animation does not equal a soul, IMHO.


Give me a definition of soul, then.

I think christians tend to get WAY too species-centric when they think of the creation---basically the universe still revolves around them no matter what copernicus found.

If the only proof that other life doesn't have a "sould" is an inference from an extremely literalistic reading of genesis, then I don't think there's much point in even arguing.

Dualism is really a fading philosophy in the first place, as there seems to be no real science behind it. Perhaps its time just to let it go.

I bless animals...right before I stick them with my fork :-)



I read somewhere that traditional Jewish divisions are non-soulish creatures like insects, soulish creatures like mammals (they have distinct personalities and emotions) and then man.

Whatever you want to call it I believe that man is different from the animals because he is a spiritual creature. I think that is what is meant by "in his image" which is not applied to animals. The things that hint at a spiritual side to humans are religion, art, music, suicide, pride, homosexuality (go ahead and argue this one I welcome it) birth control, etc. These all point to something beyond the mere instincts of an animal although I believe humans have those as well. If animals were spiritual beings then we would describe their actions in terms of good and evil or blame and sin when no one actually holds any animal accountable along those lines. An animal can kill but not murder.

Ridgeback, can you explain the homosexuality thing? I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'm just not sure I catch what you're saying.

This sounds like kabbalah teachins about divine sparks. When creation happend, the vessel and light split, and when the light came back to the vessel, it blew up into billions and trillions of pieces. This was the creation event. This put divine light into all things. As I udnerstand it, living creatures like people woul dhave more divine light than for instance a rock would. Depending on where an entity, and what it is, the amount of divine light it contains is limited. Dust contains this substance, but not in the same amounts a living person would. Mammals also have it, but not like a person does. Maybe that is what your thinking of.

All I know is that chimpanzees never display homosexual behavior, have pride, depression, love.....oh wait, yeah they do.

There is no question about levels of complexity when it comes to behavior---but that doesn't rule out the complexity of so-called "lower" organisms. there's no reason to believe that ants or dinophlagelates don't have some form of self-awareness, preference, or emotion (IMO).

And still, if the only real argument being used against this is a few genesis passages with a conservative, literalist reading....then there's not much point to discussion.

Also, still waiting for someone to define this "soul" in the first place.

twas not I..I would infact be bragging and rubbing it in that I deleted your posts :)

yours in Christ


It was me.

(well, not really, but I wish it was)

I think anything that can love has a soul. My dog definately has a soul. I doubt plants can love. I doubt cockroaches can love.

Using the definitions: SPIRT - God Consciousness, SOUL
- Self Consciousness, BODY - world consciousness. I
would say that animals have BODY definitely. They may
have SPIRIT but we don't know for sure. If you have
ever seen a dog lay down on a busy street and lick his
own balls you would agree he doesn't have a SOUL.


I believe that a dog can have affection but not agape i.e the difference between animal and spiritual love. I am the biggest dog lover in the world but I have no idea what the ultimate outcome of animal life is. I think C.S. Lewis suggested that as man is glorified in Christ all of creation will follow him in a sense so I suppose it is possible that you will have your pets in the new creation although that might have more to do with how they affected your spiritual growth. If your animals were the reason you were uncharitable towards your fellow humans maybe not.

On the homosexual issue even though animals will engage in what appears to be homosexual acts I have yet to hear of a higher animal that prefers it to heterosexual mating. Part of it is dominance and part of it is probably just wild horniness but I don't think an animal will have sex only with its own sex to the exclusion of normal mating. I know some people will disagree with this and I admit it isn't as strong an argument for a spiritual element as religion, suicide, music and art, but I think it belongs there.


The Blessing of Pets.

This custom is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures.

Francis, whose feast day is October 4th, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town

The bond between person and pet is like no other relationship, because the communication between fellow creatures is at its most basic. Eye-to-eye, a man and his dog, or a woman and her cat, are two creatures of love.

No wonder people enjoy the opportunity to take their animal companions to church for a special blessing. Church is the place where the bond of creation is celebrated.

At Franciscan churches, a friar with brown robe and white cord often welcomes each animal with a special prayer. The Blessing of Pets usually goes like this:

“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”

However, I believe every creature is important. The love we give to a pet, and receive from a pet, can draw us more deeply into the larger circle of life, into the wonder of our common relationship to our Creator.