Pope can Speak Truth, Not Create It

Olive, my cat, disappeared a week ago today. Gwendolyn Anderson

A week ago today, my cat walked out of the house and never came back. Is she alive? Did she run away? Is some well-intentioned cat-lover holding her hostage? I don’t know, but if she did meet her doom, thanks to Pope Francis, I now have some hope we might meet again. That’s right. A week ago, there was no hope, but now that the Pope has said, “paradise is open to all God’s creatures,” I have a hope.

Except one thing. Regardless of the doctrine of papal infallibility, popes don’t create truth any more than I do. If it is true that animals have an afterlife, then it’s always been true. If it’s not true, then Pope Francis’ hopeful statement can’t make it true. Yet people are responding to his recent statement as if he were issuing a new truth. It seems we all, Catholic or not (even PETA), subscribe to the doctrine of papal infallibility. However, with this very statement, Francis has created a conundrum in regards to this doctrine.

You see, Pope Pius IX already infallibly said that animals have no consciousness. That two popes seem to be at odds on the animal issue disproves papal infallibility and leaves the Catholic church in a lurch as to whom to believe. Drawing papal infallibility into question has probably been the greatest merit in Francis’ statement on animal afterlife.

Personally, I say believe how you want to believe because whether animals go to heaven or not is simply not germane to human salvation. If you can’t love a God who would exclude animals from heaven, then believe all dogs go to heaven. If you need to believe that only humans are privileged with an afterlife, go ahead and believe that. God has already said all He will say on the matter, and the issue remains unresolved. Either way, I still miss my cat.

The Christian Post