Sunday, October 01, 2006

Pets Real And Imaginary Receive Blessing At Rite (NOT from the Onion)

Lakewood, N.J. -- Nine dogs, four cats, a stuffed unicorn and a pink stuffed pony all received the blessing of St, Francis during a rite yesterday at All Saints Espiscopal Church marking the feast day of the patron saint of animals.

The Rev. Richard C. Wrede administered the blessing to the menagerie assembled at the Route 9 church, where he is pastor.

Some owner sought a little extra help with the healing of pets. Others brought their animals, real and imaginary, to keep them in good spirits.

Lorna Drexler, 5, and her 9-year old brother Maxwell, came to the parish to bless their best friends. Maxwell's dog Onya sat well behaved for his blessing.

"Uni and Pluto," Lorna told Wrede so he could bless her stuffed unicorn and pony.

Only cats and dogs came this year, but "in past years we have had hamsters, iguanas and birds," Wrede said.
My daughter, who is a professional trumpeter, was recently hired to play for for a special Catholic service for the blessing of the animals. (Catholics are always hiring musicians to make their "show" better -- they don't care if they are atheists as long as they play well!) Now, before my xian lurkers feel compelled to "educate" me as to why animals are blessed, I know that this custom is conducted in "remembrance of St. Francis Assisi's love for all creatures and that whole explanation.

My daughter told me that people lined up with their cats, dogs, birds, pot-belly pigs and even fish and a hermit crab. Even more bizarre, children brought stuffed toy animals and characters like pink unicorns to receive a blessing, and their wish was granted by the priest who waved his magic wand of holy water over the real and fake pets! A whole service with oogie-boogie ritual, incense, prayers and special music all for animals -- living or inanimate. (I asked her if she was tempted to throw in a few bars of the theme from Dr. Doolittle! ) While the intention is a good one, it strikes me quite bizarre that humans wish to impose their religious superstitions on their pets and other animals.

From the prayer:
"We ask you to bless this pet.
By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan."
(This is the most absurd thing I have seen or heard in a

Kids bringing their stuffed toy animals and handpuppets
for blessing from imaginary sky daddy. Talk about warping young minds!


CyberKitten said...

Never let it be said that Catholics don't have a sense of humour.

The Priest with the Great Dane looks like he's have LOTS of fun...

Stardust said...

At least the intentions toward the animals are good, even though superstitious in nature. "Casting spells" with holy water is not going to make a sick animal well any more than it will a human. But at least they love these animals and is better to show superstitious love than all too common abuse and neglect.

On the other hand, even though intentions were good ones, my daughter said that some of the pets were quite nervous and afraid…and it was hard for a lot of them to spend an hour in a pet carrier, and the birds were quite jittery…it must be tramatizing more than a blessing for some of them...poor things!

Also, though I know wishes for the care and well-being of animals is well intended, xians don't want to admit that Gawd isn’t going to protect any creature and it's only up to humans to take care of ourselves, the animals and the planet. If people hadn’t helped other people and animals after Katrina, nothing would have happened for the better…what would have happened is MANY more people and animals would have died. Nothing happens unless WE HUMANS do something. Therefore, the jist of my amusing little post is that shaking "magic" water on animals is absolutely absurd and pointless.
Just care for them and love them...that is enough.

Stardust said...

However, perpetuating that stuffed animals are real to a child's forming mind is not a good thing.

CyberKitten said...

I think it's pretty harmless (on the whole) and I also think that most kids beyond 2-3 years old realise that their toys aren't 'real' in the sense that they're alive in any way.

Sure it's chocked full of superstition etc... but that's Catholcism through & through..

It is indeed absurd and pointless but lots of things humans do are both absurd and pointless... Its part of wait makes us human.

Jay Denari said...

St. Francis of Assisi? If the Catholics were honest about history, they'd acknowledge animal blessings go back to a time significantly before Xianity was even conceived. I'd bet they actually borrowed it from some common Roman ritual they couldn't eradicate.