Date: 9/19/2003 1:02:11 PM
Name or Pseudonym: Oscar
Subject: Bible Study -Magesterium
Good morning Brigid!
Youve mentioned a couple of times in our discourse that you have a certain take on things. The Bible for example contains passages that some people interpret very differently. We can all run in to trouble when trying to interpret the Bible on our own for that very reason. St. Peter warns us to be careful, lest we wrest from scripture something that leads us astray. In order to protect the faithful, only Holy Mother Church has the right and responsibility to interpret scripture. When we find passages in the Bible that are difficult to understand or that seem contrary to articles of faith, we are supposed to turn to the teaching authority of the Church for guidance and answers. Guiding us is part and parcel of the Churchs mission. It would be great if we could presume without any shred of doubt that the Holy Spirit was guiding each of us individually to interpret things correctly, but Christ promised that guidance to the Church and not necessarily the individuals within Her. That makes sense, doesnt it? If everyone has been directly guided by the Holy Spirit, then how could we have thousands of denominations who interpret things in such opposite and contrary ways? The whole "Petros and petra" misinterpretation is a classic example of that. So when it comes to Scripture, Revelation, Faith etc., one must defer to the teaching of the Church for guidance.
And what does the Church teach regarding animals? Animals have only an anima, a life force. When they die, they have no further existence. Man (as the angels) has an animus, a rational soul. Only the rational soul is immortal as it partakes in the nature of God. "And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him" (Genesis 1:46/DRV).
Nor should we have difficulty with this reality. In fact, we should be all the more thankful to God that not only is our soul immortal but also our bodies, in the resurrection of the dead.
Furthermore, we can only imagine that if we should merit being for all eternity in the presence of Him Who is All Good, All Beautiful, All Perfect, and All True, we wont even be thinking about what now seems to be so important to us here on earth, but we will be totally absorbed in contemplation of the Godhead and its infinite goodness, beauty, perfection, and truth. Read the Apocalypse of St. John - beginning to end, to see just how complete is the activity of the blessed in heaven in constantly adoring God.
Animals to not posses an intellect. They possess animal intelligence - some species are more intelligent than others - but animal intelligence does not equate to an intellect. You stated that animals have been trained to do wonderful things - and thats precisely the point. An intellect includes the ability to think and work things out, without solutions being illustrated. More specifically, an intellect deals with moral situations. Animals dont act from a moral perspective. They act purely from a natural one. Sure, my dog knows that when he makes a mess in the house hes going to be in trouble - but he knows this from experience. He doesnt attach any moral negative to the act itself. Animals just dont recognize certain behaviors as sinful. We know that the Moral Law is objective, and not subjective. If animals had souls it would be sinful for us to have them spade and neutered, just as it is sinful to sterilize ourselves.