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Various Christian Life Questions

2004

In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.


Blessing Pets

>Hello,

First, I truly enjoy the DTL newsletters, very informative and very thought provoking; they make me hungry to learn all I can about God's word.

I am currently perplexed by a personal church issue and thought you might provide the insight I'm looking for.

When I was a child my mother believed our house was possessed, she called the church (Roman Catholic) for an exorcism. They offered to bless the house, which they did.

Recently I lost my beloved pet while doing what I believed was work in Christ's name. I was helping a homeless acquaintance with a possible mental condition to get on his feet. I prayed asked for guidance and protection. I really believed I was supposed to help this person back onto his feet and be the Christian example that would encourage him to seek truth and love in Christ.

Well, among many wrong doings to me, he poisoned my beloved dog. I will have her cremated and have prepared a prayer on a piece of fabric to "go" with her; I have asked a priest to bless this prayer, and he acted aghast at the request, "That is not holy, and I will not bless it." He said the most he would do for a dog is say the Prayer of St. Francis for a living dog. I asked about her ashes with a rosary; he said no.

I'm having difficulty seeing why it is the okay to bless a structure but not the remains of a life given for Christ. To me, life is life and all life is of God. Am I wrong? Have I made a blasphemous request?

Thank you for your time.
Christine
3/16/04<

It is somewhat unique to ask for a prayer for a dog, but it is not blasphemous. Many people are so close to their pets that they feel like they are a "part of the family." I see nothing wrong with saying a prayer for a departed pet, thanking God for the joy the dog brought into your life. But if your prayer gets into theologically controversial issues like assuming dogs have souls like humans do, then I can understand the priest's reluctance.

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