It is Saint Francis Sunday (at least by the goofy clock WordPress seems to be running; where I live, it’s 8 p.m. Saturday night!), the one day of the year when more progressive Christian congregations permit themselves to remember and celebrate nonhuman animals – hopefully, at least for today, in rituals that don’t involve fish fries or barbequed chicken. For some, there may be an animal blessing service. For many, there will be a cursory acknowledgement in the prayers of intercession about human responsibility to protect endangered species, and to be thankful for service and companion animals. And for most, there will be no further conversation about animals until St. Francis day next year. There are many reasons for this strange silence, and I’m hoping to organize a series of posts that will address it in the coming months. For now, I’m thankful for the efforts of groups like the Humane Society, and Best Friends Animal Society, who have begun educating and networking with religious communities to highlight the role the church can play in cultivating basic compassion for nonhuman beings.
A few other things to share —
- I didn’t realize that September 23 was Earth Overshoot Day, the day we used “all the resources nature will generate this year.” The rest of the year is deficit spending. We now need 1.4 planets to support human extraction and consumption of natural resources at our current rate, and Earth Overshoot Day occurs a little earlier every year.
- Krista Tippet’s “Speaking of Faith” program is doing a two-part series on “the faith life of the party” – politically speaking. This week’s program, Part 1, is on “The Left.”
- And there’s an interesting story in the NY Times on the pushback (against bishops who withhold communion from pro-choice politicians) by Democratic and liberal Catholics who argue that the Democratic party “better reflects the full spectrum” of Catholic Social Teachings.