Page 13, 13th August 2010

13th August 2010
Page 13
Page 13, 13th August 2010 — The Church should condemn forcefully the cruelty of bullfighting

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The Church should condemn forcefully the cruelty of bullfighting

From Jennifer Pothecary SIR – Stuart Reid’s article (Charterhouse, August 6) on bullfighting leaves me a little bewildered: is he for or against? He has, however, admitted that he is for hunting.

If we step back from particular past times – ie la corrida de toros, the hunt, the shoot or fishing – let us ask the important questions. Is God loving and good? Did he make the animals? Why did he make them sentient?

Then I think that we have an answer. No loving God would make animals for the abominable cruelty of man. God had a purpose in making animals and we may never know what that purpose is, or at least not until we meet God face to face and can put our question.

I tell a brief tale of a visit to Spain. In 1995 I took my brother and sister to that country for a long weekend. Neither knew the country. On the Saturday night we went to a bar that served excellent light suppers. On the bar television (a giant flat plasma screen) a bullfight was being shown. I asked the bartender to switch it off. He remonstrated loud and long. “Why come to Spain if you do not like our customs?” he asked.

But an elderly gentleman went to the television and switched it off. Then one by one the Spaniards at the bar came and shook my hand and patted me on the back.

I would add that my brother and sister were extremely concerned, expecting frenzied aficionados to perform a massacre. They need not have worried: apart from the bartender I think that there were no fans there of the corrida.

It is high time that the Church wakes up to its responsibility. The Church should question what our duties are to animals and revise its half baked entries in the Catechism. If nothing else, it will do our reputation a power of good.

Yours faithfully, JENNIFER POTHECARY Salisbury, Wiltshire From Dr Deborah Jones, general secretary of Catholic Concern for Animals SIR – Bravo, Stuart Reid, bravo! One pope you omitted from your splendid piece on Catalonia’s welcome ban on bullfighting was Benedict XV who, in 1920, confirmed St Pius V’s bull De Salute Gregis to be “the mind of the Church” and “is altogether in the spirit of our Holy Books... And if... human savagery falls away again in the promotion of bullfights, there is no doubt that the Church continues, as she has done in the past, loudly to condemn these shameful and bloody spectacles”.

That is clear enough, isn’t it? Prolife supporters who cannot give a cheer for this, whatever else Catalonia has done, should question their use of the word “life”. Let Christians be proall life, for heaven’s sake.

Yours faithfully, DEBORAH JONES By email

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