Friday, December 12, 2014

"One day, we will see our animals again..."

When I was little, the movie All Dogs go to Heaven came out and briefly ruined my life. See, in it, Charlie the dog has died (this is how it opens) and, well, doesn't want to be dead and hijinks ensue. But to my seven year old self, the reality of "dying" and "dogs", though I didn't have on myself, was not a pleasant reality. It was a good movie, but the sadness of some of the details pervade my memories and color my perceptions of it. Granted, a lot of kiddie movies are like this. Arguably, Watership Down was not a movie intended for children (and I watched it as an adult anyway), but in general, the 70's and 80's could be a pretty freaky time for animated films aimed at the younger set.

I tried, but I just couldn't get Elka's halo on straight....

So then comes the news this week, that Pope Francis, comforting a boy who lost his own dog, said "One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures." The very next sentence in that New York Times article cautions that the Pope was not making an Official Theological Decree™, which is to say even the Pope sometimes says things just to be nice I suppose.

But Pope Francis is also known for being a very human Pope. He's done things like (allegedly) sneak out of the Vatican to help the homeless. He's on Twitter (or there's an official account for him, anyway). He had a Harley, which he auctioned off for charity.

So did he really mean it, that dogs will be in Heaven? I'd like to think so. Pope Francis selected his name after Saint Francis of Assisi, who is the patron saint of animals in addition to having worked with the poor. And perhaps Pope Francis had a dog once, who he now misses, and would like to see again.


  1. I recently read the comments at a website reporting on the pope's statement and they were overwhelmingly positive (which, as you know, is rare on popular websites).

    It seems that many people take comfort from Francis's words. I'm glad you did too.

    As an agnostic, I doubt the existence of heaven for human or non-human animals. But it doesn't make me sad. It just makes me want to work harder to get the best out of every day with the ones I love.

    1. As a fairly 'fallen Catholic' I'm with you, Pamela though I have to say Pope Frank makes me smile and that certainly hasn't happened in a 100 years. After Sister Leocadia scared the be-Jesus out of both parents and kids, this new pope is a refreshing change. Let's hope his compassion becomes contagious-the world can sure use it these days. Peace and smiles. :)

  2. I love Pope Francis. He is such a likeable man. I hold firmly to the belief and take comfort in the fact that my pets are all in heaven being cared for by my Dad. On the occasions when I had to put a dog or cat to sleep, I've always asked them to give him a kiss for me. He was a super kind guy who loved his pets like his kids. I like to think I inherited that from him.

  3. After I lose a dog (and preferring to rescue and adopt adult to senior dogs, I lost quite a few over the years), I've always chuckled at their now entertaining God: it helps me grieve). I don't need Pope Francis to say it, but I'm glad he did. Another notch in his belt of compassion over dogma.