Ask a Catholic: Do Animals Have Souls?
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Commentary by Mitch Finley | FāVS News
Do Catholics believe that animals have souls? Can you explain?
There doesn’t seem to be, strictly speaking, any official teaching of the Catholic Church about whether animals have souls or not. The closest I can find are speculative theological essays that all seem to say the same thing. To wit: Animals have souls in the sense that the soul is the life principle of a living being. But the soul that a pet dog or cat has does not survive death and pass into eternity in the same way that human souls do.
Some thinkers respond that, for many, heaven could not be heaven without the animals that so many people cherish in this life. Also, St. Francis of Assisi seems to have had a great affection for animals. Franciscan legends tell of Francis preaching to the birds and converting a wolf who was wreaking havoc on the town of Gubbio.
So there you go. Take your pick.
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Mitch Finley is the author of 30+ books on Roman Catholic theological topics and spirituality, all written to appeal to both non-academic and academic readers. Mitch holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in Theology from Marquette University. He and Kathy Finley have been married since 1974 and are the parents of three grown sons. To learn more, visit his website.