Plants have souls?


#1

Help! In jest, I e-mailed a Protestant the e-letter from Karl Keating regarding vegans, just for fun. One thing he’s now asking is:

"Catholic believe animals and plants have disposable souls? What is up with that?
Karl Keating wrote: From Catholic theology we know that man, animals, and plants all have souls. Man’s soul is a spirit and therefore is immortal. The souls of animals and plants, as St. Thomas Aquinas noted, are material principles. They die when the animals and plants die.

How on earth do I answer that? I didn’t know myself that plants had souls, only human beings, much less disposable.


#2

Philosophically speaking, a soul is simply the life principle of any living thing. For plants and animals, which are purely material beings, the ‘soul’ would be material. It’s almost an archaic use of the word.

Only human beings have immaterial, spiritual, souls, which do not die when our body does.


#3

[quote=missy1]Help! In jest, I e-mailed a Protestant the e-letter from Karl Keating regarding vegans, just for fun. One thing he’s now asking is:

"Catholic believe animals and plants have disposable souls? What is up with that?
Karl Keating wrote: From Catholic theology we know that man, animals, and plants all have souls. Man’s soul is a spirit and therefore is immortal. The souls of animals and plants, as St. Thomas Aquinas noted, are material principles. They die when the animals and plants die.

How on earth do I answer that? I didn’t know myself that plants had souls, only human beings, much less disposable.
[/quote]

First of all I don’t think Karl is refering to a soul in the same way that the protestant is refering to it.

Second, no offense to Karl, but he and Aquinas Keating aren’t infallable on matters of faith.

I don’t think that is a official doctrine of the church. I could be wrong though.


#4

Karl, St. Thomas, and Aristotle have the same understanding of “soul.” The soul is the first actuality of a naturally organized body having life potentially. Or, as JimG put it, the soul is the life principle of a living thing. Without a “vegetative” soul, a plant could not grow. Without the “animal” soul, my dog would not come when I call him (not that he comes anyway).

The soul of a human has a vegetative aspect, animal or motive aspect, and an intellective aspect. However, the only part of the soul which is immortal is the intellective part. The intellect is not tied to the body as are the vegetative and motive parts. Thus, the intellect persists, while the vegetative and motive perish.


#5

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