An ecological asceticism works to restore right relations between humankind and otherkind. Rather than the medieval construct of the hierarchy of being…ecological asceticism reconfigures that pyramid into a circle of life with human beings thoroughly interwoven with all other creatures, special in virtue of being conscious and free but utterly interdependent on others for their
life. The prophetic response moves us to action on behalf of justice for the Earth. One stringent criterion must now measure the morality of our actions: whether or not these contribute to a sustainable Earth community. We need to respect life and resist the culture of death not only among humankind but also among other living creatures. In such ethical reflection, the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is extended to include all members of the community.
Elizabeth Johnson, Passion for God, Passion for the Earth
O God, how wonderful are your works througfhout the earth
Do not let your consciousness of the Earth community fade away. Continue to educate yourself on our current situation and act on Earth’s behalf.
For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your tender love.
Animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren…the fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect…as near to God as men are.
Pope John Paul II
It is God whom human beings know in every creature.
Hildegard of Bingen.
Every creature is a word of God and is a book about God.
Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance.…There is something so very dreadful…in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.
Cardinal John Henry Newman
Animals, as part of God’s creation, have rights which must be respected. It behooves us always to be sensitive to their needs and to the reality of their pain.
Dr. Donald Coggan, former Archbishop of Canterbury