Animals Do Go to Heaven

kittens

This past January, we made the heart-breaking decision to put our beloved dog Ralphie to sleep. Animal lovers understand the grief and the terrible sense of loss that pet people experience at the death of their friend. Whether the pet is a hamster or an iguana, the loss stings. As with all death, people wonder where that person will go, and whether they will meet again in heaven.

Sadly, many people in authority, such as priests, deacons, school teachers and parents, confidently state that only people go to heaven. This seems to me not only presumptuous but foolish. I believe all pets go to heaven. It is a logical expectation. God loves animals, for He loves all that He created.

How God Blessed Us Through a Dog

Having experienced a close connection with our dog made my conviction firm. Our relationship with him was one of genuine understanding, affection and caring, and I cannot see what would prevent the goodness of God from restoring this blessing to us in Heaven.

When our first dog as a married couple passed after 15 years, we decided we wanted another dog. The house seemed so empty without a dog. My wife found “Remy” on Petfinder. He was a Great Pyr, very skinny, with a sad face and a sad story. He had been abused, languished on a farm, and most recently been in a kill shelter down in Tennessee, but was rescued by this nice woman; and now his sad little face was on Petfinder.

We were on the fence about adopting him because we wanted a puppy. Remy was two years old. His adopter reached out to us and told us that he had been attacked by her other dogs; for his safety, she would need to rehome him quickly. We saw a need and adopted Remy without meeting him. We renamed him after the Archangel Raphael and he became Ralphie.

Ralphie had serious fear issues. Everything was new to him. With his abusive background, everything was threatening and a cause for fear. He was not aggressive at all and preferred to be alone. He appeared to be in a constant state of alert, even when sleeping. We were disappointed and sad that this poor animal was so messed up emotionally.

Would we get rid of him or honor our commitment? We always honor our commitments, so there really was no choice. Accepting Ralphie for who he was and working with his issues was a life lesson for me. I learned unconditional love, patience and acceptance, which translated into how I viewed people who had “issues” in my day-to-day life. Rather than writing them off or being put off by them, I started to look deeper and see a “Ralphie” in such folks. We don’t know what horrors people have experienced that impact their personality and how they interact with others.

Ralphie taught me how to love like Jesus loves. We took Ralphie for training and worked tirelessly to help him become the dog God created him to be. After years of training, love, patience and understanding, he developed trust in us. We took him swimming at the beach, for car rides, and hours long walks. He loved his car rides, especially when the destination was the ice cream shop. He would screech for joy when we brought him to the dog park, and he just loved life.

Every time we took him for a walk, people would stop their cars in the middle of the street to yell out how beautiful he was or ask questions about him. People wanted to hug and pet him, but as soon as they got too close he would pull away. We would tell everyone about his sad past and explain that these dogs don’t forget very easily. They have long memories, and he was still afraid of strangers. Still, we wanted people to pet him eventually. Our intention before we adopted him was to train him as a therapy dog so that we could volunteer our time at hospitals and nursing homes. Sadly, Ralphie’s issues prevented him from doing that.

Everyone in our neighborhood knew Ralphie. He loved to stay in the front yard. We had no fence, so we would tether him to a long leash so that he could patrol the block. He loved to be out front, especially in cold and snowy weather. He looked like a polar bear and acted like one too. Ralphie would go to the front door and knock to go out front. He would also knock when he wanted to come inside. Whenever anyone would pass by he would bark. After a while he became accustomed to everyone who was supposed to be on the block and only barked at strangers. Everyone knew the big white dog who would always be in front of our house.

Everyone who knew his story was respectful of Ralphie’s feelings. People would approach him slowly, speak kindly to him and throw treats to him to gain his friendship. The kids on the school bus that stopped to pick up the neighbor’s kids would yell out his name in unison every morning. They loved Ralphie and I think it made them happy to see him. He used to bark and run after the school bus until he accepted them as regular visitors.

The school bus drivers would stop the busses when they passed us on our morning walks, jump off the bus and give him treats. Our mailman, Ciro, bought a giant box of milk bones and always threw a couple to Ralphie. Before the milk bones, he would bark every time the mailman came; but after Ciro’s milk bone treats, instead of barking, Ralphie would salivate. Everybody knew and loved Ralphie. They were happy that he barked to alert us to potential strangers on the block, and he became the honorary sheriff of the development.

After Ralphie’s Passing

Ralphie is gone now. His barking has stopped. People knew he was gone because his absence was felt. The kids on the school bus asked about him. My neighbors rang the bell to find out where he was. People were devastated, or at least they felt bad. We were devastated. Our neighbors sent sympathy cards. Ralphie was gone but not forgotten. When I happen to be looking out the window and see people walk or drive by, they instinctively look up at our porch to see if Ralphie is there. I guess it was a habit many of my neighbors formed over the last 13 years. The house is quiet. The silence is deafening.

My sweet nephews loved Ralphie. They asked me if he was in Heaven. I told them yes. They told me that the Pastor said animals don’t go to Heaven. I smiled gently and told them the Pastor is wrong, pets do go to Heaven.

To paraphrase the movie Miracle on 34th Street, “yes Virginia, all pets go to heaven.” How can I demonstrate that?

Truth Suggested by Imagination

There have been stories passed down, books written and movies made about near-death experiences. Many of these accounts record seeing a departed loved one and even pets who have passed away. Sometimes I am skeptical, but rather than ponder the accuracy of such accounts, I like to ponder the definitely untrue depictions of the afterlife and analyze them for bits and pieces of spiritual truth. It is fun, and you don’t have to analyze the veracity of the story or the motivations of the people making such claims.

Short stories, movies and TV shows are great fodder for contemplation of life after death. It provides entertainment and doesn’t require a lot of deep, heavy drama on our part. Very often Hollywood incorporates our beliefs into storylines. Unfortunately, in more recent times, it has been prone to confuse or distort (think “The Da Vinci Code” or the movie “Dogma”). On the other hand, however, its creativity can be warmly agreeable to Catholic sensibility. An example is the Twilight Zone episode “The Hunt,” in which a man and his dog die together and the dog helps his master arrive safely in heaven. Their intimate bond, like mine with Ralphie, shows that the dog is a good and important presence in the man’s life. Thus, it is reasonable for the animal to be with him in the next life.

Human imagination, like all human things, is a limited, fallible thing; but the images that recur in it can show us hints about the reality in which we live. That we are inclined to tell stories about animals in heaven does not, in itself, prove their presence there, but it helps indicate the logic of the idea.

When I decided to investigate the question more deeply, however, I did what I had done when I made a serious commitment to examine my Catholic faith and understand why I believe what I believe. I went to Scripture.

Theology and Scripture

What immediately comes to mind are the many symbols God uses to illustrate animals in heaven: the dove as the symbol of the Holy Spirit; Jesus as the Lamb of God, who appears in Revelation as a lamb slain; the people of God symbolized as sheep; the last judgement involving the sheep and the goats. (Popular Catholic piety includes some such images as well, such as St. Francis, always depicted with animals, and St. Dominic, symbolized by a dog with a torch.) I could go on and on. While not all of these, of course,a re literal beasts, the honor shown to animals by this imagery indicates that real animals’ presence in heaven makes sense.

But let’s look at some Scriptural passages. Skeptics claim that the Bible doesn’t say animals go to heaven. While Scripture makes no direct statement on the matter, it does offer some hints or suggestions. For example, see Isaiah 65:25: “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD.”

Furthermore, in Revelation 19:11, Jesus, the King of Glory, comes riding out of heaven on a white horse, not a Lamborghini. And finally, Revelation 5:13: “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!'” Every creature—not only humans then, perhaps animals as well?

God created everything and gave man dominion over the earth. When Adam and Eve sinned and mankind fell from grace, all of creation suffered the same punishment, which meant death for every living thing. I believe that God allowed creation to fall and that Jesus redeemed all of creation with His sacrifice. Therefore, it is logical to assume that when the New Heaven and the New Earth are created and we see the New Jerusalem of Revelation coming down from Heaven, there will be animals in them.

So there we have it, brothers and sisters. God loves us and wants us to be happy with Him forever in heaven. He also gets joy from the holy and pure things that bring us joy, be they children, grandparents, parents or pets. So, “yes Virginia, pets do go to heaven.”

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

91 thoughts on “Animals Do Go to Heaven”

  1. I once worked as a nurse practitioner with dying children. Many told me days before they died that they saw Jesus and their pets waiting for them.

  2. Przemysław Pogorzelec

    On the contrary, Angelic Doctor wrote that souls of brute animals are not immortal (Contra gentiles, lib. 2 cap. 82)

  3. Tabitha Raised

    God will have for you in Heaven what you need, but most have to go to Purgatory to have their attachments or subjective “needs” purged in order to get into Heaven, so we must be careful about how attached we get to our pets. They are here to serve us while we are alive but once we are ready to enter Heaven, we don’t need them because by that time we only desire union with God, we do not need union with our pets. But, as a reward for being detached they could at times be part of the joy of Heaven. What is most likely is that at the Second Coming when the whole earth is renewed and everyone gets their glorified bodies, we will have animals with us in the “new heaven and the new earth.” So, these are the times I think that our pets may come back to life. We shall see!

  4. Purgatory?

    Almost impossible, but what if my wife goes to purgatory? [hers is most probably on earth, saving me and taking care of me]. Where is her maltese dog Buddy until she gets to heaven? Guy McClung, TExas

    [Hidden agenda: like some articles re “how many angels and puppies can dance on the head of a pin,” this one is fast approaching a record number of comments. So Ed M can win that honor, I thought of all the comment getters and site trolls. I KNOW “purgatory” is like the papacy, women deacons, baptism by sprinkling, justification by good works, and papal heresy.]

    Good luck, Ed.

  5. Jesus died to save us from Sin. psalm 51 states in sin my mother conceived me. Jesus did not die for animals. This article has no theological logic. Scripture says that God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son to die for us. That who soever believes in Him will have Life Eternal. Pets and animals are not capable of believing and worshiping God.

  6. Years ago when my daughter was around 6 years old she had a cute little black kitten named cricket. when Cricket was about 6 months old he developed a rare brain disorder that caused him to walk in circles, he couldn’t walk in a straight line but in loops to get where he had to go. I took him to our Vet who said it would get progressively worse and he would end up having seizures. Not wanting the little guy to suffer we made the sad choice to have him euthanized. Hayley our daughter was devastated, she loved him so much and no amount of explaining why we had to put Cricket to sleep would console her. A night or two after she had cried herself to sleep she told us that she had had what she thought was a dream but found herself standing in our living room surrounded by dogs and cats. She went on to describe all the pets that she saw, there were 3 in particular who we had before she was born and she had ever seen any photos of what these 2 dogs and a cat looked like, but described them to us in exact detail. One was a big Husky and another was a small white female Eskimo Spitz the cat she saw was a calico. Along with these sat her kitten Cricket. She said they were happy and the dogs were lounging on the floor thumping their tails and the cat was sitting on the arm of our sofa as he often did. She said she heard a loud strong voice say to her “See Hayley, this is what they do all day, play and are happy here” She never saw what or who was speaking to her but said it wasn’t scary and made her feel happy. To this day I feel my 6 year old at the time was given a glimpse of what happens to our pets when they die …their waiting for us in heaven!

  7. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my dogs and it would be great to see them in heaven. I can’t see however, how having them there would make heaven better, especially when my eternity would be all about God himself, right? This also begs another question: what happens to the pet if the owner doesn’t make it into heaven?

  8. First of all, Mr. Monti, I’m very sorry to hear of Ralphie’s passing.

    Check out Ecclesiastes 3:21. I’m hoping animals will be in Heaven. Many help humans so much. Some have even saved the lives of God’s beloved children, made in His image.

  9. So, are pets subject to the four last things as are their human possessors (AKA owner)? Owners, beware of receiving a millstone for the behavior of pets.

  10. I know pets go to heaven because my pets who have passed have come back and visited me. They are just waiting for me to return home.

  11. Well, with that assumption how could heaven be heaven for me if my atheist brother wasn’t there? This is nothing more than an immature view of heaven, God and His glory. Animals have no soul- period. When one has been brought to heaven he or she is allowed the beatific vision. All of Gods splendor is shown before us. That’s why there is no unhappiness in heaven. That is why even though dear loved ones on this earth who don’t make it in heaven will never be thought of again. Yes, even if, God I hope nobody doesn’t make it , but even if it’s your own mother. You would miss her here on earth, but in heaven seeing all of Gods goodness one only rejoices in His justice as well. I’m sorry. It’s a fluffy way of seeing what apparently this author is just too limited to accept and envision, but no- Fido will not be in heaven and you will not miss him. You’ll be so enraptured with all that God is you will never think anything of anyone of sadness again. There is no crying in heaven. Even without your beloved ones here on earth or “Remy”. This is an example of how immature society has become with the dumbing down of Gods magnificence. Stick with the catechism of the roman catholic church and as difficult as it is at times leave not to your own understanding, but research and read until you come to leave your false beliefs and you come to believe what God has revealed over 2000yrs through, His church, the Doctors of the church, Saints and the Popes.
    We have to deal with reality and not our intellectual made up fallacies because they make us feel good. This is why at funerals we are led to believe that old Aunt Mildred and everyone else is finally at peace and in heaven. We don’t know that. That’s why we have to live working out our salvation in fear and trembling here on earth and leave the pleasantries at the door. If we did we could expect a fuller church on Sundays

  12. Mary 🍀🌺🐣🍒

    Eddie; First of all; my heart felt condolences on the loss of your beloved Ralphie! God gives us our pets to teach us how to love like its our job; because it is. There are so many animals that do so much good in this world; they guide the blind, they’re lives are sacrificed for our medical advancement, they provide endless support and companionship. Therapy animals aid in recovery. Scientific studies even suggest that people’s cats can lower a persons blood pressure. As ridiculous as it sounds some people really do get more love from their turtles than they do maybe even from their own family members. I’ve read stories of how a man even died from a broken heart after the loss of his best friend in the world. I’ve read stories of how the only thing preventing someone from committing suicide was the love of their pet. God is love and whoever loves, knows God and is of God. Animals have emotions & can feel pain. I know that after the loss of my dearly loved cat, God used signs in nature to reassure me that he’s got him in his safe keeping. It really was quite extraordinary how God tried to comfort and reassure me through that time where i was utterly crushed with grief from the loss of my pet. I know he’s got your Ralphie too ; a place where there is no more suffering or pain. Somewhere Indescribably beautiful, a place of complete freedom and peace. Thank you for writing this. I don’t usually post in comments section but this one really spoke to my heart.

  13. I have worked with dying children as a nurse practitioner. They often told me they saw Jesus and their pets in heaven waiting for them. I believe pets are in heaven

  14. Ed, love the story. I too love my pooches. They are God spelled backwards and His special gifts. I’ve had a few over the years, and the last one died in my arms some 9 years ago. But I wouldn’t be without one – too much joy. I know you understand. Whether or not they are in heaven, I don’t know. What I do know is that God is love beyond our comprehension. We experience life here on earth, and it’s earthly. It just might be that in heaven God will be so beyond wonderful that we simply don’t remember Jake or Ba or whatever the pets name. Lord willing, we’ll find out. Regardless, we won’t be disappointed.

  15. I have always felt the same about animals in heaven. Why would God bring them into our lives, with animals teaching us how to love and not have them in heaven? When I worked with dying children, many told me days before they died that they saw Jesus and their pets in heaven

  16. I get to rise with my wife’s maltese every morning. He is jumping out of his skin to see me and be with me. I see a divine message here, and I think that is how God is -wanting us with Him, wanting us to use His God-given free will to choose to be with HIm forever.

    I remember Sister Mary Margaret telling us in 6th grade that whatever we wanted to have in heaven, we would get. I think she meant so long as it was God’s will. Some of my more mature classmates dreamed of beauties, but only in the deficient detail of sixth grade experience. Maybe Sister’s teachings apply to pets. Won’t it be wunnerrfulll when we all find out the truth? Guy McClung, Texas

    1. It will be wunnerful IF we make it to Heaven. If not, it will be terrible to find out the truth of all that we’re missing out on. Let’s all just concentrate on getting ourselves and everybody else that we can into Heaven, without worrying about details such as whether we will have our pets there which we will never have an absolutely definitive answer to in this life.

    2. As much as I hope the pets I’ve loved over my life (especially my big black Labrador that died last year…) will be in Heaven, my worry is that I won’t make it there. That is more important. Not the when…..but the big IF. Wishing ‘we’, ‘you’ and ‘I’ make there is hugely different than willing it. Willing it means work, the hard work of learning our Faith, living our Faith, defending our Faith, living a sacramental life, and never forgetting that we just could fail and and not get to even purgatory. God is merciful, yes, but we can’t bank on that and forget the other stuff we must do.

      Avoiding the cold hard facts of salvation is not helpful in the long run, especially in today’s world where there are many Catholics who do not know their Faith, live and believe like Protestants. This could be said of some bishops and priests of the Church! For most of the world it seems, Heaven is a done deal already and we are just spinning our wheels here on Earth until we are “called home”. The devil loves to play with our emotions if we let him, and raising animals to the level/value of human beings is one of them.

      IF I, you, he she make it to Heaven should be the primary focus. But once in while it is fun to ponder the what-if’s.

    3. Thank you for your response. You were one of the few who really understood what I was getting at. God bless you. So many people’s minds are clouded with manure they can’t see a simple, pure opinion. It is almost as if they are threatened by God’s love and generosity to ALL His creation.

  17. It is possible that certain animals become, essentially, natural extensions of their owners, just as (for example) clothes are not organically a part of the person, but are natural to the person. This hypothetical participation in human nature might be seen as a fitting parallel to human participation in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). This feels right — after all, it seems more natural to imagine the spirit of Roy Rogers riding the spirit of Trigger — but the fact is we have no definitive revelation one way or another, so we should remember all we have is speculation.

    1. I like that. Good point. But animals are still in heaven. Christ rides out on a white horse. The angels of the apocalypse ride different color horses. All the creatures in heaven praise God in Revelation. I’m pretty sure our pets will be there too. If they are not…. will we care? I think not. But I believe God wants to bring us all the joys of our heart.

    2. The question of whether there will be animals in Heaven is different than the question of whether Ralphie is in Heaven.

    3. Agreed, but the existence of other creatures besides humans in heaven would logically follow the assumption that our beloved pets can arrive in the bosom of Christ as well.

  18. Michael Martonick

    It does say in the bible all animals are saved. Read:the Holy Bible NRSV version and their are other versions were it says: you save humans and animals. Psalm 36 line 6

    1. “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
      your judgments are like the great deep;
      you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.”

      This verse is not about Heaven. The Lord preserves the universe in existence, and He gives life to both man and beast.

    2. But Ecclesiastes clearly states that no one knows if animals just die and don’t go to heaven also. Soooooo…….that means no one knows. Ecclesiastes 3:1

    3. Exactly Michael. Common sense dictates that if all creation fell with Adam and Eve all creation would be redeemed. God doesn’t do things half way. Only the demons are beyond redemption.

    4. All Creation absolutely did NOT fall. Only Man fell. The rest of God’s creation remains good, just as He made it.

    5. Very true! Only Eve was tempted bye the serpent, “rationalized” her decision and then Adam sinned, too. I don’t recall the other fauna and the flora choosing to disobey God.

    6. Ronky: I take it then that you believe St. Paul was in error when he wrote in his letter to the Romans that ‘all creation’ groans under the effects of its fallen nature?

      19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

      22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

    7. There is disorder in all creation now, after the sin of Adam, because of what is wrong with MAN, for whom all lower creation exists. But yes, the protology is seriously off – as if nothing died before sin (totally outlandish). But any critique of the author’s opinion is apparently “too deep” and is therefore untrue, illegitimate, etc. So why waste time and energy on it?

  19. I recall you wrote a similar article on this same topic some months ago, where I made a few counterpoints, which you graciously responded to. The same points still stand, among which are:

    1. The sensitive/animal soul is destroyed with death… Even if an identical looking animal were created, it would necessarily be a new animal altogether. This is fundamental.

    2. This argument would seem to imply that plants, too, are heading to Heaven, as well as bacteria, amoebas, etc. – all life. This does not seem reasonable, as sub-rational creatures exist for the sake of mankind… We don’t need all these things in Heaven.

    3. There is no possibility of beatitude for non-rational life, because beatitude is essentially rational contemplation of the goodness of God. There can be sub-rational things in the New Creation, but it must be insisted upon that these are not “in Heaven” in the full sense. (Given this and the foregoing, it should now also be clear why sub-rational creatures can’t go to Hell either.)

    4. The weight of patristic tradition, and common theological opinion, is against this thesis. That is a really big deal… See Fr. Cartechini’s chart on theological notes.

    5. There is no Scriptural support for the claim. What is offered in the article as Scriptural support confuses the anagogical and allegorical senses for a “literalistic” sense.

    6. In general, preoccupation with this topic lowers people’s view of Heaven to being “a slightly better version of Earth,” as the Muslims see Heaven. This is not what Heaven is.

    7. The protology which this argument sometimes relies on or makes use of is wrong, namely, that there was no death of any creature before the Fall. This is plainly contrary to common sense and contrary to what seems to be relatively clear from the text of Genesis – namely, that the trees may be eaten from, which would kill the seeds inside the fruits.

    We should raise people’s expectations of Heaven – our God is much better than we are wont to think.

    Peace…
    -EC

    1. In controversies like this, it is best to clearly label dogma as dogma (and to present proof that it IS dogma), and to label speculation as speculation — no matter how much the speculation may recommend itself to you.

    2. Howard: Truer words were never spoken than what you share. We can say what we ‘know’ religiously up to the point where Church dogma extends, and we should not presume to say that ‘we’ know better than the age old orthodox interpretations written by the early eccumenical councils. That is the limit of what we can say we know with 100% certainty.

      But there will always be a deepening of what those unchanging truths teach us about God and his plan for us throughout time, especially in ever rapidly waves of change confronting Christendom since WWI. The Holy Spirit still teaches those who are willing to heed its’ promptings about the nature of the Godhead itself. For if we are indeed created in the ‘image and likeness’ of God, then changes in us as a species and people of faith can perhaps reveal new aspects of him who designed us after himself. Put another way, if we listen more and more to the good angels of our character to the exclusion of those we’ve learned fails to produce the desired grapes, we will draw closer to what God intends for us as his children.

      So does this mean that the Church might not extend a place in paradise for Rover or Sylvester in some future pronouncement? If the Pope starts to channel his namesakes’ love for the flora and fauna of creation, then I guess anything would be possible. But given all the other fights and debates he’s provoked already in his pontificate, it’s not likely he would want to start another over whether or not God’s redemptive love extends beyond the human species to the domesticated animals we bring into our lives. Only time and the Holy Spirit will tell for sure.

    3. The Holy Spirit is a He not an “it”.
      St Francis preached to the birds (because he was so on fire for preaching the gospel, not because he thought the birds could understand it) and praised all creation as a manifestation of God’s love and glory, but he didn’t have a pet animal and he certainly didn’t “love” animals and plants like the 21st century eco-warriors/ green zealots /animal liberationists/ Gaia worshippers do and pretend that he did.

    4. “The Holy Spirit is a He not an ‘it’.” Amen!

      Also, issues like this are beyond the power of the Pope to choose according to his own desires. He may potentially reveal the choice God has already made, but that is all he might legitimately do.

      Or, based on the track record of Pope Francis, a Pope might drop hints that fall far short of being any real teaching, generating a lot of debate and even conflict, and then do nothing to bring back calm or reason.

    5. Actually the Holy Spirit is not a he or she, neither is Goethe Father, but in referring to the Godhead, I agree we should refer to the Holy Spirit as He as well as to Holy Communion as receiving Him not it etc… Same with unborn babies, they are not its either.
      The Pope is a lightning rod for many reasons but he is the Holy Father, chosen by the Holy Spirit so we need to keep praying for him. God bless you. Thanks for your post, I agree.

    6. Eddie-Keep on keepin’ on writing thought provoking articles-you realize you get people to read, and then to think. Good on you.Guy McClung, Texas

      ps: It struck me when you said Holy Spirit chose man currently wearing papal white. Now you have made me have to go and do some research. Basically, without knowing church teaching, I think not.

    7. No actually you’ve got it the wrong way around. God, in His Godhead itself, is not male (or female), but in relation to Man and all of the rest of His creation, God is always masculine.

    8. Many saints had pets that they loved. Check this website out https://www.thecompassnews.org/2011/10/more-saints-than-francis-of-assisi-loved-their-pets/. The mistake you make I think is stating that the Church might extend a place in paradise for Rover. The Church can not do that, God Himself redeemed all creation, however that works out for Rover, is up to Him not the Church. I’m surprised so many people here fail to understand that redemption is for all God’s creation, except for the demons who made their final choice at the rebellion. I truly believe I will see my pets again, that animals and trees and flowers and butterflies will be in heaven, but if not I will not care. I need God and God alone. I wish everyone was as passionate about the True Presence as they are about his topic.

    9. Eddie: I know that there were many saints who loved pets. That’s not really relevant to this discussion though. I share my home with two Beardies and love them very much. And there’s a part of me that hopes I will still have them in my life should I make it into heaven. But I’m not counting on it.

      What is relevant is your point about the ‘real presence’. Here we need to believe that God is present behind the appearance of bread and wine. In heaven we will experience God’s presence directly with no mask in between us. To share in such a divine communion of presence will be so fulfilling and glorious that I will feel no need or desire for the sparks of his presence revealed to me by either the Eucharist or through my pets. Any hints revealed to me in these lesser relationships will fade away once we live in the fullness of God’s presence ‘face to face’. The purpose of these lesser graces is to help me prepare for the greater I pray to experience in heaven. So just as I may need crutches or a cane to aid me to walk if I injury my leg, once I am healed completely from the injuries my sin bring to me here and experience the beatific vision fully, I will not require the support and aid that come my way via the pets anymore to dance perfectly in the presence of the Lord.

    10. I agree Father. I said that several times. It is not about needing, it’s about experiencing an afterlife mo person can imagine. But given the new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem, Mansions, seas of glass etc… We will experience what we have come to be accustomed too in a higher realm of God’s love. With a much keener sight, interiorly and exteriorly. But I need no one but God in heaven to bring me joy. I know He has a lot in store for me. Pax

    11. I do believe plants, trees, all of creation will be in heaven. There will be a new heaven and a new earth and the new Jerusalem coming out of heaven. It isn’t confusing, like all spiritual beliefs, it is simply mysterious. Thanks for the comments. Everyone is going so deep, it is equally crazy and intriguing that so many people can be so certain of something that no one knows anything about really. Think about the notion of a mansion with many rooms in heaven. Jesus said it quite clearly, no ambiguity. So there will be mansions and in my mind mansions have in ground pools. Who can say that they won’t? Heaven is going to be beyond anything we can imagine. God bless. I think everyone needs to lighten up a bit.

    12. Oh dear. My friend, you have insisted a few times now on very particular readings of Scripture without providing any serious support… Mansions with in-ground pools are probably NOT what Christ was implying – in fact, the word used is “manoi,” which is indeed quite ambiguous. Be careful about reading English translations. The Italians have a saying – “Traduttore, traditore.”

      Since a long comment I wrote (about the authority of the Thomistic Theses, especially with regard to #14 which addresses this topic, among other things) with a lot of time and care is being “moderated into oblivion,” I will simply clarify this point and then depart – that there are other creatures in the New Creation is NOT what I am disputing. I think “that animals are in the New Creation” is quite a reasonable position. What I am disputing is that “this animal” which dies has a subsistent soul (which seems to be denied implicitly by a canon of the Ecumenical Council of Vienne – see Denzinger 481 in the older numbering) which exists after death without a body, and that “this animal” has a resurrection, precisely because there is no subsistent soul, and even if there were an identical animal produced it would be a different iteration of a common accidental composition. What differentiates human twins – supposing they were truly identical in body in every way – would not only be the body but also the person, the rational subsistent nature, the “who.” With identical animals, it is only the body which differentiates. To say that animals have a rational soul would be to make them human beings – surely, you don’t want to go down that path.

  20. Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION – Big Pulpit

  21. In response to someone who raised this question about her dog, I assured her that God would giver her whatever she needed to be happy in heaven. End of her question (without answering yours).

  22. I see that this has started a conversation here and on Facebook. I lived two decades of my life as a very closed minded person. Legalism was the order of the day. I knew who was going to heaven and hell and I would quote Scripture to prove it. That was stupid, mean spirited and a form of usurping God. No one is sure who or what will make it to heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:21 states: “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”
    Bottom line is this. We only need God. I hope to see all my pets and loved ones in heaven but Jesus is my all in all. If we go to heaven and all we have is God, do we really need anyone else? But heaven, according to Christ is filled with mansions with many rooms, seas of glass, roads of gold, myriads of creatures etc… So believe what you will, but I would suggest that everyone keep an open mind. God is God, we are not. No person on this earth can declare anything definitive about Heaven. God bless. Peace.

  23. Here is a very sensible outside response to this post’s theology-based-on-emotion claim from EWTN by David Gregson:

    “It’s not defined dogma that animals don’t go to heaven, but it’s the consensus, or at least the presumption, among Fathers and Doctors of the Church. The reasoning goes thus: animals don’t have rational souls; only rational souls are immortal; hence, their existence is totally extinguished by death. This reasoning is hard to refute. But we can broaden the question.

    “Is it possible that animals may be brought back into existence at a later time? The answer is yes, it’s possible. Even if their existence is purely physical, their bodies could be restored by the power of God, in a way echoing the resurrection of our human bodies when Christ returns. For then all creation will be renewed (2 Pt 3:13; Rv 21:1).

    “So we may concede that animals don’t go to heaven without necessarily agreeing that we’ll never see them again. Heaven is at present largely limited to a purely spiritual form of existence, which animals aren’t equipped for. But at the general resurrection, heaven will include a renewed physical creation, which animals would be equipped for, if God were to raise them from the dust.

    “In fact there will be animals on the new earth, if we may so interpret Isaiah 11:6-9. Whether they will be the same animals, our pets in particular, we don’t know, but we may suppose God won’t withhold anything from us that will add to our happiness.”

    http://www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage.asp?number=562184

    Also, let’s be clear that iguana, hamsters, and dogs are not persons. Only beings with a rational nature are persons.

    1. And babies don’t go to heaven either, unless they’re among the 15% or so who get baptized first.

    2. 4.5 mil They arlion aborted Babies not Fetuses go to heaven Daily in the USA They are the newest Saints.Baptism by water, blood or desire.

    3. Thanks for injecting some sense into this emotive nonsense.
      I love my dog as much as anyone, but he’s not going to Heaven.
      True, God won’t withhold anything from us that will add to our happiness. But we know that if we do make it to Heaven then almost certainly one or more people that we loved (or liked or even admired without knowing them) will go to Hell, and knowing that fact WON’T diminish our happiness in Heaven because we are face to Face with God. A fortiori, the fact that our beloved pets aren’t there , having ceased to exist (at least they are not in Hell) won’t diminish our celestial happiness either.

    4. Quite a selfish viewpoint. It’s not about the dog or even about God, it’s about *you*.

    5. The poster, and the other people referred to here, are concerned not so much about their fate as to the fate of the animals. Yet the responders concern themselves only with their own (human) happiness in the afterlife.

    6. Actually, I am concerned about how people and animals transition from this life to the next. It is a topic of science as well as theology. Take for example the Church’s stance on giving Last Rites to someone who is dead for two hours. A priest will give Last Rites to someone clinically dead for two hours but not three. Makes sense? Not to me. God is outside of time. I pray for my ancestors now at the moment they died be it 20 years or two thousand years ago. Padre Pio did the same thing. I pray for myself at the time I die, in case I do not have the faculties to pray then. Remember God is outside of time, everything is now to God, past, present and future. I have faith in God. I believe in His promise. I will be with Him for all eternity. People of faith have a sure hope of eternal life. Thank God for confession and Divine Mercy. Thanks for your comments.

    7. The death of a human being, by definition, is the separation of his soul from his body. Many people used to think that death occurred at the point when someone stops breathing or when his heart stops beating, but modern science has shown us that it’s not as simple as that. Biologically, death is a complex process. Obviously it occurs sometime before the flesh rots away, but exactly when? The Sacraments are means of God’s grace given to people in this life. It would be not only ineffective but a grave abuse of the Sacraments to simulate administering them to someone who was already dead (i.e. to a corpse rather than a living human being composed of the union of body and soul). Nobody can see, measure or detect the soul with the physical senses or scientific instruments. As nobody knows for sure exactly when the soul and body separate, the Church has to draw the line somewhere in deciding how long after someone’s heart has stopped she can administer the sacraments to him.
      This has nothing to do with praying for people. Of course we can and should pray for all the dead, no matter how long ago they died (except of course those whom we know are in Heaven, we should pray TO them.)

    8. I am so happy to know that at least you and you alone know exactly what heaven is like. Scripture records that eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those who love Him.My dogs all go to heaven. Your dog will too. I guess it is nonsense to believe Saint Anthony preached to fish and a donkey adored Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Crazy right? I believe it. Check this website out http://www.miraclesofthesaints.com/2010/10/miracles-with-dogs-birds-other-animals.html. As for me, my heaven will be filled with animals, people, angels and best of all, we will all be adoring, praising and glorifying God together. But I won’t know until I get there, so that’s what I imagine. To suggest anything definitive about heaven is nonsense.

    9. A very strange comment. I made no attempt to define exactly what Heaven is like, in fact I explicitly denied that I or anyone else has such knowledge. I said nothing about Heaven which is not taught by Holy Mother Church. It seems to be you sir who is making up heaps of explicit details about what Heaven is like, with no rational or doctrinal basis.

    10. There’s always someone who tries to derail a rational discussion by playing semantic games with word meanings, even in this case the word “rational”.

  24. “I believe all pets go to heaven. It is a logical expectation. God loves animals, for He loves all that He created.”

    I sincerely hope this doesn’t mean I’m going to have to battle black flies and mosquitoes if I get to heaven!

    1. Conservative Catholic

      Using this guys logic you can expect cockroaches and fire ants too. 🙄

    2. Absolutely. Peter was given a vision from heaven. A blanket filled with animals. Peter was told to kill and eat. Nothing is unclean to God. Todays reading was clear, God shows no partiality. He created cockroaches. People have pet cockroaches and love them, so yeah, this guy would say they will be reunited with their pet roaches. Won’t you be shgrinned if a roach gets to heaven before you do!?

    3. This revelation is to make clear that salvation is now clearly a universal act of God – it is not limited to the Jews, regulated by the Mosaic law (such as circumcision or dietary restrictions), which is affirmed by what happens next in the narrative. To say that God is here giving Peter an eschatological signal that the animals he is simultaneously being encouraged to barbecue is very, very bizarre.

      Christ declared, “I am the Resurrection.” His flesh is human flesh, not animal or plant flesh, and we are safeguarded in Him through baptism, whereby we are incorporated into His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. You are inventing a theology wholesale based on very bad metaphysics and arguably even worse exegesis. It is quite reckless.

      On the contrary, the Psalmist says, “In his riches, man lacks wisdom. He is like the beasts that are destroyed.” God will provide us with much, much more than such a desire, as good as such a desire for pets may be.

      Peace to you… I don’t think I will comment here any more.
      -EC

    4. Thank you for your opinion, however, I think you went wayyyy too deep. I was not suggesting heresy. I was stating a possibility of pets, even pet roaches being reunited with the humans that loved them in heaven and using the example of God declaring nothing unclean, even roaches. It is not a denial of the truths and dogmas of the Church which I wholeheartedly believe. The point of the essay is really very simple. Scripture records animals and creatures in heaven. God loves us. God rejoices in what makes us happy as long as it is not sinful. We hope to be reunited in heaven with our loved ones. That means our pets too, for animal lovers anyway. I intentionally stay away from deep theological arguments to keep these essays light and somewhat entertaining. As I said, if we go to heaven and all we have is God, what more do we need?!

    5. Thank you for your comment bit you are going too deep again. The English translation is what I have to go on. I have heard so many folks compare and contrast Greek versus Aramaic versus the Vulgate. Jesus was clear about Mansions with rooms. If it were not the case I imagine the Church would not sanction the translations. He was clear about the Eucharist. Ecclesiastes is quite clear that both humans and animals die buy question the arrogance of men’s assumptions that an animals spirit ceases to exist. So the arguments you make citing Church Fathers, pronouncements, rational beings, Resurrection of animals and the like is like arguing over the existence of a Saint Veronica. I would suggest you just enjoy the idea that God may in fact unite us with our animal companions. This is an essay of possibility. It is meant for light entertainment. I was sharing a story about a great canine friend. I believe I will see him again in heaven. Having a personal loving relationship with our living God suggests that everything is possible with God. So yes I believe Ralphie is in heaven. His spirit lives on. I love your competent theological analysis, however, the essay is simply a way for me to share my thoughts and imaginings about the afterlife. It should not be read as a theological thesis on animals having rational souls. But I did enjoy your comment.

    6. Anthony Angello

      I do not believe All animals go to heaven; the trout I caught last week nor the bird that pooped on my car window will not be there. God puts a supreme value on love and animals that were loved here on earth surely will greet us there! Our love of them is their ticket to heaven.

    7. Could be Purgatory padre. Never know. Jesus mentions that not a sparrow falls to the ground without His noticing. I’m pretty sure in heaven everything is harmonious, so the bugs don’t bite. Pax

    8. Either you skipped class or slept in class or used drugs in the Seminary. Hit the books Father. Your pet rotwieler bit 200 people and gave them rabies and he is now a Saint in heaven. Get off the drugs and start praying.I am a priest for 49 years. I love my people but marshmellow rationality is and feel good theology is not needed. The Truth shall make you free.

    9. ‘Father’: Did you bother to read the comments I contributed to this discussion? I’ve argued that pets don’t go to heaven. I suspect your not a priest but rather nothing more than a troll!

    10. It appears you might actually be a priest. Imagine my surprise! I wouldn’t expect a brother priest to throw around stupid, baseless insults as easily as you seem to… especially when you clearly don’t take the time to actually read what others post.

      So for the record: I’ve never owned a Rotwieller; I pray every day; I don’t do drugs; I have been a faithful priest in good standing of the Catholic Church for 30 years. And I’ll put my orthodox bone fides up against you or any other priest any day of the week.

      But if you’ll take a bit of advice from a younger brother, you might try practicing a little Christian charity in these discussions. You will find that, with practice, you will eventually be able to be both truthful and charitable when you join in these online forums.

      Sacerdos in aeternum

      Fr. Tim

    11. Dear Father
      Jesus was strong when He told Peter get behind me Satan. He was emphatic when He said you will deny me three times when the cock crows twice. Jesus did not make the Eucharist a symbolic bread He is truth way and life.My happiness in Heaven is God not dogs and cats.Charity yes in all things but I can not tolerate things that are not true..

    12. Father: 1) Indeed Jesus was strong. You are not Jesus. We are nothing more than his representative. 2) What does the Real Presence of the Eucharist have to do with this discussion? Point out to me where I have actually diminished this dogma before you presume to try to correct me for have have not offered anything here that is not true.

    13. Dear Father,
      No place in Scripture does Jesus speak of His coming to bring Pets to Heaven. The essence of Heaven is not personal happiness through possessions pets or things. On Mount Tabor Divinity is revealed to Peter, James and John. A preparation for the Crucifixion and revelations of what awaits humanity in Eternal :Life.God , one in the Trinity is all that matters.Heaven is the fulfillment of knowing, loving and serving God. Only God is necessary. Not our pets.

    14. Father: I agree with you!!! No where do I say that Jesus promised we could bring pets with us to heaven. If you take the time to read what I posted in this thread, you would see this is true. Perhaps you didn’t note that I was quoting another comment in my post that seems to have set you off on your insult tirade against me?

      Finally, I repeat the central point I have been trying to make to you. There is no need to be uncivil or impolite in making an argument here as you were with me. Doing so isn’t being ‘strong’. It’s being stupid. And you will find that your approach does nothing to further our obligation as priests to bring people to know, love, and follow Jesus as members of his one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. In fact, it drives them away.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.