Rainbow Bridge

I hear so much about our beloved pets crossing the Rainbow Bridge and waiting for us in Heaven when we die. ( if you’re unfamiliar with the Rainbow Bridge Google it).

I also keep hearing Catholics believe that when our pets die they don’t go to Heaven.

Can both sides present their reasons for believing what they believe about pets and death?

Is it official Church teaching that pets don’t go to Heaven or is it opinion which varies from priest to priest?

Christ died for all men, not fido. As much as I love my dog and my box turtle, they do not have human intellect. By the way, the only thing that I can think of in a rainbow bridge afterlife is in Norse Mythology.

I don’t believe that animals go to Heaven since, for one, they don’t have eternal spirits. As far as I know, the Church hasn’t definitively declared whether animals go to Heaven or not, but I would be very confused if the Church declared that animals do go to Heaven. If they could go to Heaven, then they should be able to go to Hell as well. I can think of some pets I’ve had that might go to Hell. :wink:

Your article says animals operate on instinct etc. and not on morals, but what about dogs who protect their loved ones by detecting cancer or a seizure?

What about elephants and their intelligence and love and protection for their families?

What about how elephants and other animals that grieve for their dead?

Animals operate on instinct alone, everything they do is based upon what their instincts compel them to do. They don’t have reason like man does. Here’s a quote from the Baltimore Catechism about it:

Q. 137. How is the soul like to God?
A. The soul is like to God because it is a spirit that will never die, and has understanding and free will.

Q. 142. What does our “understanding” mean?
A. Our “understanding” means the “gift of reason,” by which man is distinguished from all other animals, and by which he is enabled to think and thus acquire knowledge and regulate his actions.

Q. 146. Have brute animals “understanding” and “free will”?
A. Brute animals have not “understanding” and “free will.” They have not “understanding” because they never change their habits or better their condition. They have not “free will” because they never show it in their actions.

Q. 147. What gift in animals supplies the place of reason?
A. In animals the gift of “instinct” supplies the place of reason in guiding their actions.

Q. 148. What is instinct?
A. “Instinct” is a gift by which all animals are impelled to follow the laws and habits that God has given to their nature.

Q. 149. Have men as well as brutes “instinct”?
A. Men have “instinct,” and they show it when placed in sudden danger, when they have not time to use their reason. A falling man instantly grasps for something to support him.

God has given animals these instincts, such as protecting each other, to ensure that they survive and propagate their own species; it isn’t the animals having any sort of morals nor reason as these things are unique to man. They also don’t love like people do. What we perceive to be love in animals is not truly love. Scientifically, such behavior in animals has proven itself to be beneficial to the organism and the species in general so it spread through natural selection, which God guides of course.

I’ve known many dogs who have loved their masters unconditionally, and cried and howled when they past on (their owners)

Animals are a lot smarter than we think, and we could learn a lot from them. If there’s an afterlife and I hope there is, I’m certain dogs will be there. But not cats. :smiley:

Michelle Arnold wrote:

Explain to your children that heaven will have all that is needed for our perfect happiness. If they need their pet with them in heaven in order to be perfectly happy, their pet will be there. As adults we realize that God alone suffices for perfect happiness; but we also know that God, in his great love for us, gives us more than our mere necessities and that his love is reflected to us in his creation. It may be that our animal friends’ presence in the next life will be God’s gift to us.

Note the bolded part.

I don’t recall satan tempting animals to eat from the tree of knowledge.

I am a huge dog lover. However, Christians should be on guard against pagan animal worship. There is nothing in Christian teaching about animals having immortal souls. We can hope that there will be pets in heaven.

Just remember there is a difference between the topic of pets going to Heaven when they die and animals being there in the new earth at the end of time.
The latter may be true but the former is not.

Only humans have immortal souls. This is what the Church teaches. It is not a matter of opinion.

Animals do not have immortal souls and so when they die their souls cease to exist.

Faith, the “rainbow bridge” is not Catholic teaching.

Only man is made in the image and likeness of God, only man has a spiritual soul. Only a spiritual soul is immortal. Material souls are finitel. Animals have materials souls.

Faith, talk to your priest if this troubles you.

It is good to ponder that God made all the animals and all the many ways they serve us. All the good that we get from animals is from GOD! God will fulfill all love and happiness for us in the next world.

While it is not infallible teaching that animals cannot have an afterlife, it does seem to be almost universally held.

Our LORD left the issue open; so must we.

Theologically and philosophically, the human soul has propensities such as the mind and spirituality that are more consonant with life everlasting than the “natural soul” of animal life. Still, for philosophers to tie life everlasting to the ability to do philosophy seems to me to be a wee bit self serving!



The key here is to implicitly trust God –*who is the Fullness of Being Itself – to provide to us whatever sublime aspect of his goodness it is that reveals itself in “dogness” or “catness” or “horseness.”

It was, after all, God who came up with the idea of “dog” or “cat” or “horse” or animal of any kind – and the entirety of creation itself. He knows better than we do what it is that will make us fully happy (in the sense of eudaemonia.)

I did, in email. I asked if they went to heaven and he jokingly replied, yes, only if they’re good. :smiley:

I just emailed him back.

What about them grieving for their lost loved ones?

I’ve posted this before. It’s a study of Catholic teaching, scripture, and my own (very non-infallible) pious opinion.

Material soul.
Taken from Catholic Answers
All living creatures – angels, humans, animals, plants – have souls. However, there are two kinds of souls: spiritual and material. Angels and humans have spiritual souls. Animals and plants have material souls. Something that is spirit is not subject to the decay of change. Thus, angels do not die and human souls survive the separation of body and soul at death. Material things however are subject to change, thus they are subject to decay and death. As animals and plants have material souls, at death their souls cease to exist.

Whether God will choose to re-create animal and plant souls at the end of time when the material universe is transformed (cf. CCC 1060) is something we do not yet know. However, the Church does not teach that animal and plant souls are “disposable” in the sense that they are of little consequence and can be wasted if humans wish to do so. Animals and plants do not have inherent rights, but humans, because they are appointed by God to be just stewards of nature, have a responsibility to be kind to animals and prudent in using the world’s natural resources. See the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation (CCC 2415).
Recommended reading:

What Spirits Are and What They Aren’t by Frank Sheed

My own Scriptural considerations:
1. Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?
2. John 11: 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

3. Luke 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.
4. 2nd Peter 3:13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
5. Revelation 21: 1
**[FONT=Palatino Linotype]* Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;
3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”***

[/FONT] Since we do not know for sure the end of the souls of animals (#1 above) and we know that Christ stated that he is “the resurrection and the life” (#2 above) and since Our Lord stated that all live to God, (#3 above), then we see twice in the New Testament where Christ promises a new Heaven and earth (#s 4 & 5 above) it seems logical that we may comfort ourselves in our loss of our beloved pet friends with a hope that we will see them again since animals cannot sin it seems more likely that God might resurrect them because of the blessing they have been to us in their lives.

Keep in mind that this is not a teaching of the Catholic Church, or anyone else, but nothing more than my own pious theory. :slight_smile:

Animals have no soul. Humans do. End of story.

All living things have souls.

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