Must Christians Be Vegetarians?


Is there a religious obligation not to eat meat? Is there an obligation of faithful Catholics to become vegetarians or even vegans? Quite astonishingly, Professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University says yes in his new book For Love of Animals: Christian Ethics, Consistent Action.

Genesis, according to Camosy, makes it clear that God intended only for us to eat green and grain because that is what He gave mankind to eat. God did not say we could eat the animals. Camosy argues that recent popes, when they have called for the care of creation, implicitly endorse this view. He also cites the Universal Catechism for his point of view.

Camosy is not the only one making these arguments. The modern granddaddy of these arguments is former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully who published a book called Dominion that has turned many to vegetarianism. Camosy was deeply affected by Scully’s book, as was my dear friend Mary Eberstadt who has written the foreword to Camosy’s book. And in recent days Weekly Standard writer Jonathan Last has joined their ranks and come out as a campaigning vegetarian.

With the exception of Scully each are religious and each are practicing Catholics and make religious arguments to back their claims. In a recent National Review article, Scully quotes Pope Francis’s first sermon where he called for “respecting each of God’s creatures” and Benedict condemning the “industrial use of animals” and John Paul II asking farmers to “resist the temptations of productivity and profit that work to the detriment of nature.”

For-love-of-animalsThey also make a great deal about what is called factory or industrial farming. The accusation is that such farming is profoundly cruel. Sows are boxed so they cannot move, only eat, defecate and grow fat. Chickens, too. They never go outside. Male chicks are immediately ground into nothing because they cannot lay eggs and take too long to grow for meat. After suffering their whole lives these animals are led to slaughter with at least some kind of knowledge of what is about to happen to them.

One thing Camosy et al have in common is that they are pro-life. You would understand this to mean the protection of unborn children from abortion, the protection of human embryos from experimentation, and the protection of the elderly from euthanasia. They would include animals in this. In fact, Camosy says he became a vegetarian in order to be more “authentically pro-life.”

There is a practical political aspect to vegetarianism. Mary Eberstadt, whom I have praised to the high heavens in these pages and will continue to do so, argues that Millennials can be reached more effectively if we speak to them as vegetarians. In fact, the main thrust of this current campaign, which is running almost exclusively in the online pages of National Review, is to convince pro-lifers to be “pro-animal” and that a great bonanza of support for our cause lies among the vegetarian set who think we are hypocrites for protecting unborn babies yet happily eat our cheeseburgers.

And so what of their arguments? First, know that these are very smart and learned people. Most of us would be unequipped to argue with them on many topics including this one. And while I find their arguments interesting, I do not find them ultimately compelling. And some of them I find offensive.

On the question of factory farming, there is the charge of wanton, unspeakable cruelty. Take pens used to confine nursing hogs, for instance. It sounds awful. The pens hold them tight so they cannot turn around. Perhaps the most interesting writer in defense of modern farming is Missouri farmer Blake Hurst who began writing for the American Enterprise Institute when Michael Pollan’s anti-meat and much else Omnivore’s Dilemma came out a few years ago. Hurst runs not a “factory” farm but a family one. He says such pens are necessary because mother sows have a nasty tendency to lie down and crush their young. Sometimes they eat their young. Even so such pens are outlawed in some states.

Hurst goes on at great length defending the practices condemned by Camosy et al. He describes a turkey farmer who wanted to raise them “free range” but who did not know that turkeys do not come in out of the rain and can drown beaks up open wide. He lost 4,000 turkeys in one storm. He now raises them in a more confined space, where they won’t drown or be eaten by other animals. But Camosy et al are not simply against factory farming of livestock. This is their hard-case argument. In fact, they oppose the eating of any animal no matter how they are raised.

The religious question is not as complicated as the factory farm question. There simply is no demand by the Church that we not eat meat. The Catechism is quite plain and says we may use animals for food. Camosy points this but then emphasizes the Catechism says we cannot do it “needlessly.” Strictly speaking you can live your whole life without eating meat and therefore the only time Camosy would allow us to eat meat is traveling through Death Valley by horseback with no choice but to eat the horse. But the Church does not teach that. The Church asks for a meatless fast on Fridays—still does by the way—which implies we may eat meat every other day. What’s more the Bible is chock full of meat eating. Where Genesis 1 gives us green and grain to eat, Genesis 9 gives us all the animals to eat. Jesus ate fish, gave fish for others to eat, and being a faithful Jew there is little question that he ate the lamb at Passover.

It is perfectly fine for Scully and the others not to eat meat. It is perfectly fine for them to campaign for their point of view.  And I must say their description of “factory farming” has given me pause. But to cast this as religiously required is deeply offensive, particularly for someone like Camosy who teaches at a Catholic school. Sure, recent Popes have called for care of creation including animals but none of them have said we cannot eat meat. I have been blessed to spend time in the residence where Pope Francis now lives and recall enjoying some delicious cuts of dead calf. The Church clearly does not teach what Scully and Camosy says it does.

Finally, to suggest that being a vegetarian makes you “authentically pro-life” is a kind mischief making that all pro-lifers ought to reject. Pro-life does not mean raising the minimum wage or easing immigration restriction or not eating meat. The seamless garment has done a great deal of harm already. Let’s not allow it to stretch any further.

Austin Ruse


Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    When I read the opening lines describing this Fordham professor’s book, I thought it was satire. Then I learn that this guy’s serious.

    Man is to be steward over the earth. Nowhere does it mention being a vegen. Using right reason, man defines what God intended by being a steward.

    There was a time when mental illness was clearly identifiable. But when whole societies begin acting insane, it’s difficult to help those who truly suffer with mental disorder.

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  • Oremusman

    We can and should certainly improve our stewardship. But that doesn’t mean we are required to refrain from consumption and proper use of animal products.

    And a flat no to this idea that vegetarianism should be used to attract young people. How about the grandeur of God, the holiness of Christ and the divine and natural truths that should inform and govern our lives as the basis for our evangelizing?

  • L Reese Cumming

    And what of Peter’s vision?

    • Ken R. Anderson

      lol, yes what of it. It was a vision. Hard to kill and eat animals in a vision. It came with a spiritual not natural message.

      • dcn Ricardo

        Certainly a vision but go further back all the covenants sealed with animal sacrifices they consumed it after it would be more unethical to kill just to waste it.

        • Ken R. Anderson

          You are right.

        • brians

          The shedding of blood is the direct result of sin. Sin and death have been overcome. In De Civitate Dei the original order has been restored. Should we as Christians still live under the fallen order?

          • bobster

            and who did the sinning????? Vegetarians!!

      • L Reese Cumming

        Thanks for the info.

  • C

    One must be careful and not try to legislate too many things. There is a danger of becoming a Leviathan of religion, exactly what the state is threatening to become with our Church in it’s sights. Even if they are right, IMHO it falls well below the urgency of protecting the innocent. Our intellectual and emotional resources are better suited, at the moment, to the more important arena of threats to human life and flourishing.

  • Don

    The Bible, including the New Testament, contain numerous references to eating meat and fish in a positive context. To argue that one must be a vegetarian to be a good Christian requires one to ignore Scripture. It effectively requires one to conclude that Moses, Jesus, most of the saints, and religious leaders of many denominations and faiths, to have been morally misguided. It bears mentioning that even Martin Luther commented on the subject and concluded that eating meat was an acceptable Christian act. While one can argue for the humane treatment of animals that will be killed and eaten, it is another thing altogether to conclude, as a matter of Catholic theology, eating meat is wrong.

  • John

    To me, the most obvious reason vegetarianism cannot become a doctrinal matter is how profoundly ahistoric and Western-centric the idea that agriculture is a prerequisite for “civilization.” Obviously, Abraham, Moses and the rest of the classical world lived among pastoralists (even if they did so uneasily, at times), but pastoralism in various forms survives around the world. It’s a stretch to say that those who live in harmony with their flocks and herds on ranges in rural places are morally inferior to those of us who live 1,500 miles from the plants upon which our oranges, bananas, quinoa, lentils, and grains grew. Objections to factory farming, agri-business, and “inhumane” animal treatment are reasonable for prudential purposes, even to the point of having a moral dimension, I would agree (as in, it is not ok to poison all downstream waterways as a result of excessive synthetic fertilizing of one field, for example). But as a question of salvation, which is the proper concern of the Church, some amount of universality must also apply.

    • msmischief

      One notes, however, that “organic farming” requires those factory farms. You don’t gather the necessary manure from free-range animals. You need to pen them.

      So anyone who objects to meat on humanitarian grounds should also avoid “organic” products.

      • Joan

        That’s why the healthy solution is to go “beyond organic” and pasture the animal, thereby letting them spread their own manure which contributes to both the health of the animal and the health of the soil.

  • Daniel Kane

    Vegetarianism is a valid lifestyle choice. Some vegetarians are motivated by revulsion to the killing of animals. Fine. But a personal moral reason does not make it a universally righteous choice. At the end of the day, all of the recent Catholic essays on the morality of vegetarianism is simply a NARRATIVE FALLACY. If vegetarianism is mallum per se, then the Friday abstinence is a farce – one does not stop doing a “bad” as a sacrifice. For the rules of abstinence to have any validity at all, abstinence from meat must be the free sacrifice of a just good for the greater glory of God.

    Vegetarianism is a neutral lifestyle choice and if being one assists one personally in a life of virtue, great. If one’s pride and vanity are inflamed by “passing on the pork” because one wrongly thinks that such actions are “more” Catholic or Pro-LIfe then it leads to sin.

    In the end though, the vegetarian dust up is a narrative fallacy elevated to a truth by a publisher or at best a lifestyle choice that may aid some in holiness.

  • publiusnj

    This is preposterous. Not only did Jesus Christ feed others fish (Mark 8:7), He Himself ate fish: “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.” Luke 24:42-3.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Once you move the right to life to include other species, this seems to be a logical development. But I would accuse the good professor of being animal-centric, and discriminating against vegetables.

    The only logical line to draw is within our own species. Beyond that, the law of the jungle, not the law of life, reigns supreme. A grizzly bear would not respect Professor Fordham’s right to life.

    Also, how does one have a vegetarian Haggadah?

  • Deborah

    I agree with you that connecting pro-life issues with vegetarianism serves neither cause well. Both causes have sufficient validity to stand on their own merits. Also, to propose a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle on the basis of morality does not serve the cause of humane treatment of animals. It’s better to think of this topic not from moral arguments, but as a matter of simple common sense.
    We humans are masters of self deception. We claim ignorance, albeit willful, in our attempt to absolve ourselves of guilt. This is especially true with our defense of eating meat; we prefer to look away.
    No doubt, Camosy’s descriptions of factory farming are disturbing. I would suggest that a more effective revelation of the horrors of this can be gleaned by watching the video posted by the group Mercy for Animals ( I wonder if viewer cannot be touched by such suffering and then still enjoy eating meat.

    Even if we take the argument out of the moral sphere there is still more than ample reason to forgo the eating of meat.
    Think of it in a positive light. If we adopt a vegetarian/vegan life style. it’s a win-win.
    We benefit the environment, the animals and our own health.
    People are very defensive about this issue. Certainly, meat tastes good! But, as a vegetarian/vegan for over forty years, I can say that neither my health nor my enjoyment of food has suffered. Try it!!

    • Cromulent

      Um, the point being made here is that Catholic doctrine in no way requires vegetarianism. Thanks for the non sequitur!

      • Ken R. Anderson

        There are many non sequiturs in the comments section. Most of them go beyond just pointing out the errors of making a vegetarian diet obligatory. They then proceed to make light of, or even mock, the ethics and esthetics and simple common sense of eating vegetarian or vegan.

        • meunke

          And then some go so far as to casually insult others by inferring that if you don’t go vegan you just lack all common sense.

          • Ken R. Anderson

            You are right, and that is unfortunate. Saying eating vegan is just good common sense is in no way saying those who do not “just lack all common sense.”
            But then you are sensible enough to realize that.

        • Cromulent

          If it were simple common sense, the bulk of mankind would have been eating vegetarian for millenia now.

          • Adam__Baum

            Common sense in past times meant eat whatever you could because the timing, amount and quality of the next meal was not assured. It’s only in the last hundred years that we’ve had the luxury of making mealtime an expression of personal vanity.

            • Cromulent

              In my best Pacino: Vanity. Definitely my favorite sin.

    • Ken R. Anderson

      And I thought my 28 years was good!

      Not only have our health and enjoyment of food not suffered, but both have improved greatly. I am sure you would agree.

      • Adam__Baum

        If something is completely wise, people don’t celebrate its duration. Nobody says “I’ve been brushing my teeth” for 28 years, but the veg crowd count their time like reformed alcoholics.

        • Ken R. Anderson

          For shame. Such a contentious comment. And so insulting.
          We all celebrate very good things.
          I have been happily married for many years, and I celebrate the milestones each year.
          I have been a Christian for 53 years, and I celebrate my life in Christ. I can assure you, this is wisdom.

          • Adam__Baum

            For shame and so insulting that you would even attempt to compare marriage to brushing your teeth.
            Marriage is a social activity, and navigating it successfully is social and meritorious of celebrations of duration. But thanks for making my point that there’s a significant social dimension in vegetarianism.

            • Ken R. Anderson

              Sadly, considering the beauty of our Catholic faith, this is not the kind of online interaction I expect. In the kind example of Pope Francis I at least hope for honest civil discussion not contentious debate filled with derision.

              • Adam__Baum

                People come here to debate, not for a cotillion. It is not civil when gross distortions of the faith, outright heresies are peddled a doctrinal obligations and people don’t respond vigorously.

      • slainte

        You never slipped in 28 years….not even once… inhale a cheeseburger….or a bite of prime rib?

        • Ken R. Anderson

          lol, no. Not tempted to do so. After a while the idea became nauseous.

          • slainte

            You are a better person than I.
            Since this is a Catholic website, I vote for you to receive today’s halo. : )

  • Adam__Baum

    Nonsense. First of all, denticia indicate your diet. The canines are fangs, meant for tearing flesh. If you were meant to consume only vegetables, you’d have a mouth of molars. We are mean to be omnivorous.
    Second, you need complete protein, not only for growth and development as a child, but to maintain musles as an adult. As a vegetarian, one of the few sources is quinoa, which wasn’t widely available until a few years ago. Otherwise it is an attempt to match “complementary” foods. The absence of protein may contribute to the development of diabetes mellitus, among other things.
    There’s the issue of vitamin B-12, not readily available in vegetable sources-whose deficiency in the elderly produces symptoms similar to (and often confused with) Alzheimers. We now know that fish provides EPA/DHA which is an absolute necessity for brain function. Salmon is an absolute essential in Northern latitudes duer to the absence of Vitamin D producing sun exposure.
    No one in their right mind should advocate or be indifferent to gratuitous infliction of pain on anything, but where does this, do we start changing our path to avoid stepping on ant. Do we reject the consumption of eggs?
    What I really resent is the blatant attempt to superimpose cosmopolitan whims on Catholic doctrine through the dishonest appropriation of Papal pronouncements. Consumption is not the “industrial use” of animals. If that’s what he meant, he would have said “eat no meat”.
    The problem with “intellectuals”, i.e., people whose principal product is ideas and abstraction, is their tendency to peacock for each other, and to rush headlong into syncretic puritanism.
    Perhaps that’s why the first Pope was a fisherman and not an intellectual.

    • Mark

      Sir, I award you an Internets.

    • Ken R. Anderson

      The writers have definitely overstated their case for a healthy vegan diet; many commentators have overstated their objections.

      • Adam__Baum

        Are you disputing my assertions?

        • Zarchne

          I’ll dispute that human dentition necessarily indicates we are “meant” to eat flesh. Fruit bats also have large cuspids.

          • Adam__Baum

            And horses don’t have fangs, but lions and tigers do, guess which ones will eat you.

            • Zarchne

              Heh. Neither, as long as I can avoid being thrown to them.

              But it reminds me, both horses and lions make their own vitamin C, while humans (like the bats) require some in their diets.

              • Adam__Baum

                But it reminds me, both horses and lions make their own vitamin C, while humans (like the bats) require some in their diets.

                Did I suggest that it was immoral to eat citrus or acerola cherries?

                • Zarchne

                  I should back up and say that although I contend one (or more) of your biological arguments that humans are meant to eat meat is specious does not mean that I’m condemning meat-eating itself.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Perhaps you should make your case that one or more arguments are specious. In biology, form dictates function, so the teeth are adapted to a specific diet. If you think that EPA/DHA and B12 and D are readily available to herbivorous humans, identifies the sources.

                    • Zarchne

                      As I said, human teeth are not particularly indicative of meat eating, as comparison with fruit bats and other frugivores will readily show. The idea that idea that the human “canine” tooth is proof that humans are definitely supposed to eat meat may seem plausible at first, but it doesn’t actually prove that; the argument is specious.

                      That having been said, it’s certainly true that humans are not herbivores in the way that cattle and sheep are.

                      However, humans can synthesize EPA and DHA from alpha-linoleic acid, which is available from nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits such as olives and avocados. B12 is produced only by bacteria, and most humans are extremely efficient absorbers; it’s possible that some could survive on unwashed (organic) fruit and that produced in their own gut. (I’m not suggesting anyone try this, merely noting the possibility.) And as you already noted, human skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Of course, Alaskan natives get these nutrients from fish, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to, or that the first humans obtained them that way.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      “The idea that idea that the human “canine” tooth is proof that humans are definitely supposed to eat meat may seem plausible at first, but it doesn’t actually prove that; the argument is specious.”

                      That’s an assertion, not contradictory proof.

            • the seamstress

              Uhm…you obviously have not been around horses. Yes, horse; especially stallions often grow what are called “wolf” teeth. (exactly where canines grow-while leaving the space or “bar” for the bit still available) So the ability for tearing canines is in the genes. Having said all that: that you for the article and the discussion. I went vegan about 1 month ago but have been questionting the decision based upon theolgical/moral virtue. So it is not a “sin” per se, to eat meat—one must just choose their cuts with empathy—okay, I can handle that.

  • Proteios

    Im of the belief that CHristians, by virtue of stewardship of God’s creation, should be very conscientious of the environment, etc. Not to be confused with bizaare politically motivated environmentalism or vegetarianism, etc. But plain and simple, respect environmental use, minimizing impact whenever possible and not just crap in our own drinking water for a profit. I take a more common sense approach because I use a car, have a house and eat meat. I dont only eat meat. I dont drive a hummer because I can. I dont use 6oz water bottles to the tune of 4 a day and toss the plastic in the garbage. COmmon sense can conserve a great deal and we dont have to go environmental nutty, nor do we have to aling ourselves with right wing anti-enviromental nonsense that contradicts our own eyes and ears.

    • Adam__Baum

      Can we assume that you also don’t tool down the road in a Prius loaded with those nasty batteries and a license plate that says “NLITND” that gets parked in a 5000 sq foot house brimming with several computers and a 60 inch flat panel, jumping on a 767 just to escape the doldrums?

  • Joshua Donescoss

    “It is perfectly fine for them to campaign for their point of view…The Church clearly does not teach what Scully and Camosy says it does.”

    I assume that these authors are Catholic, or else why is a Catholic magazine commenting on what heretics believe about eating meat or not? Therefore, I must point out that its NOT fine for them to campaign for their point of view, especially since it is a corruption of what the Church teaches. It would be even worse if they put their question explicitly in the realm of Moral Theology, that it is immoral for a Christian to eat meat and that to become more perfect, or even to obtain our salvation, we must become strict vegetarians. Christ, being God, did not teach that. Our Lord Jesus Christ enjoyed wine and meat. We can too. Simple as that.

    Remember folks, even the smallest of errors, such as the question of eating meat or not, have no rights!

    • Austin Ruse

      Go back and read the piece more closely. It answers the concerns you’ve raised.

      • Joshua Donescoss

        I see that now. But there is still the contradiction in the article itself. It is not “perfectly fine” for these so-called Catholics to campaign for a concept that is clearly against Church teaching.

        My “beef” with this article, though it has no bearing on the topic at hand, is that it approves of the freedom of error.

        • Austin Ruse

          Being a vegetarian is certainly not against the teachings of the church. Whole religious orders like the Trappists are vegetarians.

          • Joshua Donescoss

            I never said that it was against Church teaching to be a vegetarian. And, if one is always tempted to eat too much meat then that lifestyle is a good way to temper your passions for meat. But these two Catholics are teaching that we must be vegetarian because the Church, according to them, teaches that it is immoral to eat any meat at any time.

            Then the author of the article states that its “pefectly fine” for them to campaign for this error. It is not fine at all. That is the problem I am pointing out today. This article was excellent up to the end.

            • Adam__Baum

              Would it be fair to say that your objection isn’t to vegetarianism pwer se, but the insistence that it is required?

              • Austin Ruse

                That was one of the key parts of the piece!

              • Joshua Donescoss

                Yes, that is somewhat fair. I have no objection to vegetarianism at all.

                I must object to the concept that, according to some dimwits, God requires man to be vegetarian. Catholics cannot freely campaign this error. The author of the article contradicts himself by stating that its “perfectly fine” for them to do so, despite the fact that it is clearly not what the Church teaches (That God requires man to only eat veggies). Thus the reason why I accused the author of the approval for the rights of error.

                • Adam__Baum

                  The author of the article contradicts himself by stating that its “perfectly fine” for them to do so.

                  That’s a good point, and perhaps identifies the pyrogenic aspect of this piece, although I think he might have meant that they are free to campaign for vegetarianism, and the rest of us said wait a second, they aren’t campaigning for vegetarianism as a personal choice, but vegetarianism as a moral imperative.

            • Austin Ruse

              Again I ask you to go back and read the piece, of which I am the author. I explicitly point out the difficulty you site that being a vegetarian is just fine but saying it is required by the church is offensive. Go back and read the piece.

            • Austin Ruse

              Here is the second to last paragraph that explicitly says it is offensive to claim that vegetarianism is a religious obligation:

              “It is perfectly fine for Scully and the others not to eat meat. It is
              perfectly fine for them to campaign for their point of view. And I must say their description of “factory farming” has given me pause. But to cast this as religiously required is deeply offensive, particularly for someone like Camosy who teaches at a Catholic school. Sure, recent Popeshave called for care of creation including animals but none of them have said we cannot eat meat. I have been blessed to spend time in the residence where Pope Francis now lives and recall enjoying some delicious cuts of dead calf. The Church clearly does not teach what Scully and Camosy says it does.”

  • Jay

    St Francis of Assisi gave up eating meat. Was he not a good Catholic ? Where in the New Testament does it say “Don’t eat meat on Fridays?” That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement in favor of eating meat the other six days. I recall from elementary school the sisters teaching us that death came into the world because of Adam’s fall. We eat animals because of that.
    I’m not saying we should all become vegetarians, but what’s so bad with setting our sights higher than the drive-through at Chik-Filet?

    • Billiamo

      St Francis did not eat lamb, due to its identification with Christ, and he taught compassion for animals, but he was not a vegetarian.

      • Cromulent

        Careful, his head might ‘splode.

      • Daniel Kane

        Even if he was a vegetarian – which is disputable – some religious orders do not eat meat as an expression of poverty, not morality. His abstinence from flesh is a neutral marker for holiness just a vowed chastity is a neutral marker.

    • meunke

      “Where in the New Testament does it say “Don’t eat meat on Fridays?””
      - ALERT! Faulty Sola Scriptura level argument detected.

    • Adam__Baum

      Hey Jay, we aren’t Protestants here, looking for some “gotcha phrase”. Where in the New Testament does it say the New Testament (and if you exclude the Old Testament, you can’t properly understand the New one) contains an exhaustive code of proscribed activities?

  • Marianne

    I couldn’t agree more. I am Catholic; pro-life for ALL inlcuding animals. It is simply the right thing to do. Also, I am a strong environmentalist. The crimes against God’s creation is a crime of the worst kind.

    • Austin Ruse

      Can’t be a crime if God gave us the animals to eat.

      • Nick_Palmer3

        Must I quote Homer Simpson?

        “If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?”

        • Adam__Baum

          So you could wear them like that dreadful experiment in meaninglessness, Lady Blah Blah.

        • Austin Ruse


    • Adam__Baum

      Danger Will Robinson, syncretism alert.

      By the way, if you are married to Stanley, we might be related. You sure sound like a cousin of mine.

    • Peter

      Pro-Life for animals? This approaches blasphemy. Animals ARE NOT made in God’s image and likeness. Are you pro-life for roaches, mice and other pests?

      As far as “crimes against creation” being “sins of the worst kind” – where in the Bible, the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, the teachings of the Doctors of the Church and the recent Magisterium of the Church do we read that we must embrace environmentalism?

      Please rethink your positions, they do not seem consistent with Church teaching.

  • Theophilus2

    Those cows look delicious.

    • Adam__Baum

      PETA= People Eating Tasty Animals

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  • Paul Wilson

    So if Christians must be vegetarians, how on earth are these Biblical passages to be explained? 1) the Passover meal (in which the Israelites were required to kill and eat and unblemished lamb) 2) the parable of the Prodigal Son (in which the father welcomes the son back by slaughtering the fatted calf for a feast) 3) Acts 10:9-16 (in which St. Peter was commanded by a voice from heaven to kill and eat “unclean” animals in a dream).

    • Adam__Baum

      How dare you enter the fuzzy warm environs of an emotional echo chamber with cold hard facts.

      • Ken R. Anderson

        It is a cold hard fact that the Bible nor the Catechism demand a vegetarian diet. It is also a cold hard fact that we are healthier if we eat vegetarian. Daniel and the three Hebrews refused to eat the kings diet, and on a vegan diet they thrived.

        • meunke

          Do you know WHY they didn’t eat the kings diet? *Hint* it wasn’t because they grey up on tofu.

          • Ken R. Anderson

            Oh for shame. Insulting the king of all proteins! Cooked right it can be delicious.
            Not only did they not want to eat food that had been offered to idols, but the King’s diet was one of more refined foods, which we all know to be unhealthy. If it was only because of the idolatry, they could have asked for other meat. But they chose the better food.

            • meunke

              No, because there was no way to determine which animals were offered to idols or not. Nor was there a way to make sure that they were prepared in a kosher way.

              ” If it was only because of the idolatry, they could have asked for other meat. ”
              - In like manner, if I were a slave captive of a hostile empire, and there was a partial chance that any meat I was given, even prepared grandly, might be human flesh, I would not touch a single piece either.

              No, them wanting to be vegan didn’t play into it.

            • slainte

              “…The king of all proteins”…Tofu (and soy products) is/are full of estrogen and can pose a real danger to women who have breast cancers which are estrogen receptive.
              I can’t imagine that estrogen is very helpful to men either. : )

            • Adam__Baum

              Steak is the king of all proteins. Tofu is derived from soy which in itself is bad for males, add the high iron content and it’s doubly bad for males.

        • Adam__Baum

          It is also a cold hard fact that we are healthier if we eat vegetarian.
          Uh,no it’s not. It’s a cold hard fact that meat is calorie intensive, and calorie restricted diets make us healthier. Correlation is not causation.

  • Jim

    Let me quote the Fathers of the Church.

    “Do not abstain from meat on Mondays like the heretics do.”

    • Joan

      Where does this quote come from? This reminded me of the “Meatless Mondays” that a certain health organization is currently promoting.

  • Ken R. Anderson

    I was a vegetarian for 25 years, and have now been a vegan for 3 making 28 years in total. While our original diet in the Garden was vegan, after the flood God gave permission to eat meat. While we are wise to eat less meat, and I would recommend a vegan diet to everyone for ethical and esthetical reasons, you simply cannot make a Biblical case against eating meat.
    But those who mock vegans and vegetarians should know that with our healthier diets and longer lives, we WILL get the last laugh.
    Just saying . . .

    • meunke

      Vegans don’t live longer. They just look older.

      • Ken R. Anderson

        Yes, some do.
        But the statistics are on my side of this one. Vegans are significantly healthier than the rest of the population. Decades long studies have been done on Vegetarian and Vegan Seventh Day Adventists and their incidents of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases caused by the SAD (Standard American Diet) are much, much lower than the general population.

        • meunke

          2 things:

          “Seventh Day Adventists” – Yes, and I’m sure that the ONLY thing that separates the way those people live and your run of the mill American is vegetarianism…

          “Standard American Diet” – People following the Peleo diet also are much healthier than people who eat in that manner. That’s a strawman.

          • Ken R. Anderson

            Come on Meunke, surely you can recognized that the SDA diet is a significant element in their healthier lives.

            • meunke

              I think since I am not a vegan I feel no need to buy into statements that support it uncritically. My point is that by comparing SDA with the average American diet (and yes, I’d agree that what is considered the average diet is terrible). My point is that you are ignoring a LOT of factors in your rush to proselytize.

              In like manner I could say that your average American, eating the average American diet, lives longer than Somalis, who eat mostly grains and the like. So… American diet it better!

              Except that you already see what the problem is there.

              You carefully ignore MUCH bigger health concerns, such as the fact that, unlike other Americans, SDA totally prohibit smoking cigarettes.

              • Ken R. Anderson

                Oh enough already.
                I am glad to discuss anything with anyone. That way both can learn. But I don’t like debates where there is no commonality, no give and take, and where negative statements are interspersed throughout replies. I “carefully ignore” and I “proselytize”.
                Yeah, enough.

                • meunke

                  Translation: Pwnd.

                  Show me a study that takes ALL the factors into account, and I’ll treat it seriously. Until then, your proof/study has less credibility than Michael Mann’s hockey stick.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Vegetarianism, like AGW is a religion. I’ve yet to meet a vegetarian that doesn’t exude smary superiority over those primitive carnivores.
                    As for the business of diet, let’s not forget the study with the “all-twinkie” diet a few years back, where weight and cholesteral were reduced. Turned out calorie restriction was the operative factor.

        • Adam__Baum

          Show the comparison between SDA’s and a p;pulation that doesn’t use Mickie D’s and Popeye’s drive through like it was a turnsyle.
          Also factor out alcohol and tabacco..

      • yan

        They really do! What’s up with that? And how does that reflect well on veganism?

        • meunke

          It’s the phenomenon called ‘Skinny Fat’ that happens to a LOT of vegans due to nutritional problems.

    • Adam__Baum

      As if we all aspire to a long dull life munching lettuce.

    • mag

      Your assertion that God gave permission to eat meat after the flood is nowhere in the Bible. What is your source?

      • Ken R. Anderson

        It is in the Bible. But thanks for asking my source.

        Our original diet was vegan.

        Genesis 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

        But then after the flood God said, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”
        It is rather clear that after the flood He added flesh to their plant diet. To me this means He gave us permission to eat meat. It is not a requirement. And sadly the meat we find wrapped in plastic in the supermarket is a far cry from what God gave Noah permission to eat.
        Here is the context in Genesis 9.

        Genesis 9 (ESV)

        9 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

  • meunke

    “Mary Eberstadt, whom I have praised to the high heavens in these pages
    and will continue to do so, argues that Millennials can be reached more
    effectively if we speak to them as vegetarians.

    - Then Mary Eberstadt is an idiot. Sorry, Millennials can smell when someone is trying to coax them into something that is little more than a dressed up fad, and vegetarianism (and I’m betting it goes all the way to vegan, because if we can’t raise them for food, how can we raise them for their flesh to wear?) as is being pushed here reeks of it.

    That’s the kind of military grade BS I would expect to hear on the National Catholic Reporter.

    • Austin Ruse

      I will defend Mary who is a national treasure on all the issues we care deeply about. Waht she is talking about here is appearing to them as consistent, that we do not kill babies and we do not kill animals. Not as something phony but as a attempt to be waht they, the millenials, might view as consistent. You may disagree but you cannot call this BS…not fair to one of our best who is being quite genuine. BTW, she is a vegetarian not as a dodge but she is genuine about that, too…and we should respect it.

      • meunke

        “I will defend Mary who is a national treasure on all the issues we care deeply about.”
        - I Know nothing about her. I’ll even grant you that on a specific topic she may be a mind blowing genius! But you don’t get a ‘fudge factor’ to carry over when you do something dumb, which is what this is.

        “Waht she is talking about here is appearing to them as consistent, that we do not kill babies and we do not kill animals. ”
        - Ah yes, because as anyone who has spent any time on the net, or actually spoken to any of these millennials will tell you, as soon as you mention ‘Christianity’ they instantly launch into a tirade about how “if you care about human life, why do you eat animals!?” It’s an argument thrown in my face constantly, to the point that I burst into tears when I’m standing by my grill. It is so VERY common, as I’m sure you know… So common in fact that the same millennials forget about such tiny, insignificant things that are meaningless in comparison, such as the fact that Catholics, while claiming to hold marriage as sacred, divorce, fornicate and flaunt adultery at the same rate as non-Catholics. Being seen as consistent on this meat issue is SO ALL CONSUMING IMPORTANT to millennials that they totally ignore silly, stupid, insignificant things altogether like the fact that Catholics were in the majority of supporters for our national torture policy. Ask any millennial and they’ll tell you they couldn’t care less so many Catholics know absolutely nothing about the Faith they claim to profess. Nope, it’s this meat issue that’s most important… I mean hey, that’s all the fathers of the Church talked about too, from the Didache to Aquinas. (every single one of the vegans, btw… or so they must have been.)

        “the millenials, might view as consistent. ”
        - Did it ever dawn on you that maybe, just MAYBE, what the millenials view as consistent might not be… correct? Did you ever perhaps stop and think about that? (I’m guessing no, at least by the tone of your response). You know what lots of millenials also think is inconsistent in the Church? The fact that we preach a God of love, but refuse to accept ‘gay marriage’. Perhaps preaching a complete faith, the easy parts AND the hard parts, is what’s called for instead.

        “You may disagree but you cannot call this BS.”
        - I can, and I do. Because it is. I also think it’s totally fair. It would be unfair to praise an idea that is not praiseworthy.

        “BTW, she is a vegetarian not as a dodge but she is genuine about that”
        - That doesn’t matter. You (or she) want to be a vegan? Fine, that is your business. You want to go Paleo? Fine too. Why is that something so wonderful we should respect and celebrate it?

        • Austin Ruse

          Boys, I don’t agree with her. But I cut her slack because she is one of America’s most important thinkers and writers on life issues, porn , pedophilia, contraception, the sexual revolution and much else. Google her name and get to know her work in magazines and journals. Go to amazon and get her books. She is amazing and brave. You won’t regret it.

          • Adam__Baum

            How about we respect each position on it’s own merits, rather than because the holder is lucid and orthodox on others?

            • Austin Ruse

              How about some respect period.

              • Adam__Baum

                You mean like when pugilists exchange a handshake?

                • Austin Ruse

                  No, like friends and allies treat each other.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    I have a niece who is a vegetarian, it’s her informed adult choice. However, she’s not militant about it, and recognizes that her choices impose something of a burden on others, which we happily meet and respect.

                    Does she harbor some sentiments of moral superiority? Perhaps, but I don’t know because she never utters them. She knows we don’t agree and doesn’t attempt conversion.

                    If you want to be vegetarian, have at it. If you want the paleo diet, ditto. But when you attempt to impose it on me, we have “an issue”.

                    What we have here is a historically novel and heretical position that carnivory is immoral and proscribed, and disingenuously infered it from Papal pronouncements and Scripture, or that somehow we can catechize the youth, if we adopt a position that has an implicit philosophical and doctrinal error-that there are positive obligations to babies and animals. I’m sure Mary thinks she’s sewing a seamless garment, but it’s still full oh holes, and it doesn’t elevate animals, it diminishes humans.

                    Friendship doesn’t start with dictates hurled from a position of influence, and alliances aren’t formed with the lies and condescension.

                    You cut her slack? That’s fine, so I do. Otherwise good people can go off track here and there. I’m not condemning her (or any other other of those cited), but this idea and it’s adjuncts gets my vigorous condemnation and not an iota of slack.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      You are amazing. Mary does not make the arguments you ascribe to her. She thinks it is a better way. She thinks its a way to attract other to the prolife cause. It is camosy and scully who hold the views you condemn here and that I CONDEMNED IN THE PIECE. did you actually read the piece? Sheesh.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Yes. I read it.

                      “or that somehow we can catechize the youth, if we adopt a position”

                      This is what I ascribe to her, but I’m also addressing the more militant positions of the others.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Where did she say that?

                    • Adam__Baum

                      I’m going from this statement:

                      “…argues that Millennials can be reached more effectively if we speak to them as vegetarians.”

                      Millenials are young to me.

                      Let me be clear as I can. I have no issue with YOUR position. I think Mary’s position is, to borrow a phrase “irrational exuberance”.

                      Several years ago, I worked with a rather large group of millenials-few if any were vegetarian. They loved steak and beer. Reaching them effectively means disabusing them of the notion that the casual and uncommitted satisfaction of their libidinal urges was a bad idea, and that’ll take some doing because they were fully immersed in the hook-up culture.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Totally agree with you. Mary’s wrong. We’ve won the young to the prolife cause without being vegetarians.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Then what heck are we arguing about?


                    • Austin Ruse

                      I am defending my friend Mary mostly against that other guy up there and you stepped in. This piece was complicated by the fact that two good friends and solid social conservatives are now espousing vegetarianism but not in the same way scully and camosy are. I am simply trying to clarify Mary’s arguments. You and I agree. Truce, certainly.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      I am in no way defending the others. As you may have noticed the point of my piece. I am defending a great woman with whom I have a single and slight disagreement over a minor and prudential matter.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Rutler is a huge fan of Mary’s.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      And Rutler’s piece was far more respectful than yours and “meunke” above. My point is that Mary is YOUR friend. You just don’t know it. You should.

                    • Austin Ruse
                    • Austin Ruse

                      Let me be clearer. Mary does not say there is a religious obligation. She does not say the Church says we must be vegetarian.

                    • Austin Ruse

                      Let me be clearer. Mary does not say there is a religious obligation. She does not say the Church says we must be veg.

        • Austin Ruse
      • Nerd

        As a Millenial, I can assure you that you aren’t doing yourself any favors by comparing human babies to animals; you’re simply allowing your opponents (the ones who don’t recognize HUMAN dignity) to win by allowing them the opt out. After all, if babies aren’t human, how is abortion murder?

      • Adam__Baum

        “she is a vegetarian not as a dodge but she is genuine about that, too…and we should respect it.”

        My respect ends when they start telling me it’s a matter of doctrine and obligatory.

        • Austin Ruse

          She doesn’t.

  • Deborah

    Certainly, from reading all the comments posted today this article has stimulated quite a bit of reaction. Issues of dietary practice can have a passionate hold on the way we form opinions. We get emotional—even huffy-puffy—witness the tone of many of the comments.
    It is sad for me that in my lifetime, I most probably will not see the end of the horror of abortion, nor, will I see the end of the horrific way we humans treat animals. Knowing that, my efforts remain for me to advocate for the sacredness of life in all its forms–not simply in word, but in deed. While it does not seem helpful to link to two together, they do share the same quality—innocent and suffering.
    As with so many, many challenges that beset us during this turbulent age, two sorrows that best our society remain unhealed: the painful death of the innocent unborn and the suffering life ended by a brutal death of innocent animals We, as a society need to be open to all suffering. Following Pope Francis example, we need to witness love, compassion.
    With regard to animal welfare issues (and no less with the struggle against abortion), it is so important that there be dialogue.
    I applaud Mr. Ruse for writing this article; he has tried to be balanced in his presentation. It disappoints me that the tenor of most of the comments to this thoughtful but provocative article is one of anger or distain for the realities that Austin Ruse presents. For us to clasp our bibles close to our hearts and quote scripture or other authorities does not advance the dialogue. To be open to suffering in all its forms, and to be responsive to that pain would be a noble life’s work for any of us.

    • Adam__Baum

      When somebody asserts peculiar and exacting preferences, argued with sophisms and nostrums, they join the flat earth society. When they represent those to be Church doctrine or append those ideas to it, they need to be exposed as charlatans and dismissed.

    • Patrick Button

      Your desire to protect the innocent is a noble one, but it’s application to animals is misplaced. Animals are not innocent. Innocence implies agency or potential agency, which animals do not have. A grizzly would not hesitate to eat you, and you should have no scruples about eating him.

      You inappropriately apply moral absolutism to the treatment animals. One should never violate the rights of humans, but animals do not have rights to violate. We should cause animals as much pain as we need to. If a slow death in a trap is necessary to feed your family, then trap the animal. If the situation is less urgent, try to make the animal’s death relatively painless.

      Those who choose to not eat meat as a personal sacrifice are
      commendable. Those who try to trouble the conscience of good Catholics
      by insisting that “meat is murder” must be corrected, by smacking if

  • christopher1122

    To what is this piece responding? Camosy’s book? The picture of the book, along with the publication information, suggests that it is. But neither the author (nor the commenters) give evidence of actually having read the book. I’ve read the book, and nowhere does Camosy suggest that being vegetarian is part of Catholic doctrine–still less, an intrinsic evil. However, the Bible is clear that being vegetarian is our ideal state–and one that will come again in the Kingdom. Just as clear is the teaching of the Catechism that Catholics may not participate in the cruelty of factory farms–which is available to see for anyone with YouTube. (Michael Vick could not have justified himself by suggesting that “somewhere things might be worse for some dogs who aren’t in dog-fighting rings”, and neither can factory farmers by pointing out that “somewhere things might be worse for some turkeys.”) Participating in such cruelty is obviously incompatible with the clear Catholic teaching that we are prohibited from needlessly causing animals to suffer and die. If you can’t get enough protein and B12 from other sources (a rare situation), then get your meat locally raised so you know the animal wasn’t tortured so that you can enjoy an artificially cheap sandwich.

  • yan

    This is a little bit off topic, but related to the turkey story you reference. The turkey was on the short list for being the official bird of the new United States. Franklin suggested it. The point was to reference the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, thus connecting the new country to its founding heritage and history. It was a consideration of the awesome stupidity of this bird that made the other Founders, um, shoot the idea down, in preference to the bald eagle.

    • meunke

      I remember reading that!

      However, the bald eagle is a loser in its own right. Most of its attack dives fail and many times simply resorts to bullying a more successful animal out of its dinner.

      • yan

        And isn’t it like practically extinct? Or at least endangered. Russia has the bear, England has the lion, China has a dragon, Mexico has the jaguar, and we have a scavenger bird….

  • Jacob Suggs

    “Jesus ate fish, gave fish for others to eat, and being a faithful Jew there is little question that he ate the lamb at Passover.”

    This seems like it should be sufficient by itself. Jesus is God. He did not sin and, lacking neither the knowledge of what is right and wrong nor the will to refrain from doing so, did not commit any acts that are objectively wrong.

    And He did eat meat and give it to others. Ergo, eating meat is not wrong.

    • Art Deco

      Yes, but what is the function of intellectuals, but to tell us that things are not as ordinary people perceive them? Ergo, we pull categorical imperatives out of a hat and spin our wheels arguing for them. Or, alternatively, we take antique and well-understood teaching and argue the Church is wrong. Hombre111 take it away.

      Pays the bills for those in the word merchant class.

      • John200

        Art, you are tilting with idiots. Funny stuff, that.

        Categorical perspiratives, indeed.

  • brians

    No mention of Tolstoy? Of course it can’t be made a legalism, but there is a valid eschatological argument for Christians to avoid meat. Clearly, before the fall, there was not, and after the final fulfillment of the Kingdom, there will not be, consumption of animal flesh. If the Church is a Colony of Heaven, and if we as Christians are citizens of that Kingdom, should we be living that Kingdom to the fullest we possibly can? He who has ears, let him hear. He who doesn’t, well, enjoy your steak.:)

  • Lauri Friesen

    I think that everyone who eats meat should have to kill and butcher at least one animal in their lifetime, in order to understand well the complexities and requirements for good stewardship. I also think that vegetarianism and veganism are more often just a shirking of the responsibility to learn what it means truly to be human, created by and in the image of God. I eat meat, I do so with the knowledge that I rarely know where it came from. I am still working up the stomach, so to speak, to kill, clean, cook and eat a chicken.

    • slainte

      The Jewish tradition of slaughtering an animal is subject to a strict religious tradition rooted in respect and compassion for the animal; the process is under the supervision of a rabbi.
      Perhaps when you choose to eat meat, you may consider purchasing meat that is labelled “Kosher”.

  • George Albinson

    Ten years ago, Father G W Rutler wrote in Crisis in reply to a vegetarian:

    I was delighted to read the Manichaean
    ramblings of Daniel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society
    (“Letters,” June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in
    Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of
    which contradict the order of grace.

    an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme
    commitments to vegetarianism. Taste is one thing; it is another thing to
    condemn meat eating as “evil” and permissible only “in rare and
    unfortunate circumstances.” Paden disagrees with no less an authority
    than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7: 18-19),
    and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my
    favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16).

    the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have
    served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the
    Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper
    Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a
    meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

    was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of
    human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be
    inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger
    people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the
    benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home
    with a bowl of radishes.

    assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of
    vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive
    restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of
    diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and
    twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so
    selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo
    of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet
    sigh of the cauliflower. Vegetables have reactive impulses.

    we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even
    respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.

    • Brian Sroufek

      “Man does not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Genesis ALSO states God’s desire and gift upon Noah’s sacrifice that animals are permitted to be eaten, a command IGNORED by the above Genesis quoter. Also, Jesus “sat down to meat” in the Gospel. Is HE wrong?

      Condemning others for eating meat is heresy.

  • haroldcrews

    Human’s are obligate omnivores. There are some required vitamins and other nutrients that come only from animal products. It is disordered to live so as to impair your natural functioning. You are harming yourself purposefully or are harming those to whom you are responsible for feeding and caring for to raise them in a state of malnutrition when the means to raise them with good nutrition is available.

  • S.

    What about the fatted calf to celebrate the return of the Prodigal Son? Passover…in which it was key that they not only slaughter the lamb, but must eat it. Animals should certainly be cared for, but to say it’s Christian to not eat meat is coming from radicals.

  • Jim Corcoran

    The translation of fish and relish is very similar and explains why scholars made the mistake. Relish and bread were very common condiments in Biblical times and it makes sense that Jesus would provide that kind of snack at a lecture of his instead of fish and bread.

    Jesus, being an Essene, was certainly a vegetarian!

    • bobster

      why did he help them catch fish then … fish destined for someone’s belly?

    • Austin Ruse

      It is false that Essenes were vegetarians. Jesus was a faithful Jew and therefore he ate the lamb at passover and the bible cites him as eating fish.

    • meunke

      Yes, because for two thousand years, nobody ever thought about that until the whole modern vegan thing became a fad. I notice that people lose about 50 IQ points when they try to baptize their personal passion and give it a religious cushion.

      Heaven help us if nudist colonies become widespread. I’m sure they will suddenly point out that for two thousand years all the doctors and saints of the Church were wrong about what Jesus said about ‘giving the thief your cloak also’. They will say He was actually promoting public nudity! Then they’ll point to St. Francis giving his father the clothes off his back and leaving as a modern saint also promoting it.

      Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    • Adam__Baum

      This is why we shouldn’t pussyfoot around with nonsense. The lies become more numerous, and more brazen.

    • snafubar

      Nonsense. Jesus didn’t fish for relish.

    • thebigdog

      I relish laughing at your nonsense.

    • Richard A

      He was cooking relish on a charcoal fire after the resurrection? Or is the Greek word for charcoal fire akin to the Greek word for ‘condiment tray’?

  • bobster

    I blame the fall and the damnation of humanity on vegetarians. Well, weren’t Adam and Eve vegetarians?

  • Ken R. Anderson

    Judging from the tenor of some posts I think it would be good for us to pray

    The Daily Prayer of Mother Teresa

    Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.

    • Adam__Baum

      More applicable:

      Prayer for Those in Error

      Most loving Jesus Christ, who hast redeemed the world by the shedding
      of Thy Most Precious Blood, turn Thine eyes in mercy upon our poor
      humanity, which still lies, for the most part, sunk in the darkness of
      error and in the shadow of death, and grant that the light of Thy truth
      may shine gloriously upon all mankind. Multiply, O Lord, the apostles
      of Thy gospel, give them new fervor, and bless with Thy grace their zeal
      and their labors and make them fruitful; that by means of them all
      unbelievers may know Thee and be converted to Thee, their Creator and
      Redeemer. Call back to Thy fold all who have gone astray, and restore
      to the bosom of Thy one, true Church all who are in rebellion against
      her. Hasten dear Saviour, the happy day when Thy kingdom shall truly
      come upon earth; draw all men to Thy loving Heart, so that all may be
      partakers of the unspeakable blessings of Thy redemption in the
      everlasting bliss of heaven. Amen.

      • Ken R. Anderson

        An excellent prayer.
        And if you pray both prayers you get the best approach of all, in the example of both Jesus and Pope Frances: a church and a people preaching the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15

  • Sarah Zilbauer

    They think Pro-lifers are hypocrites for eating animals and trying to save unborn babies from murder? How many animal rights activists are “Pro-choice”.

  • BHG

    What is most bothersome to me is the way in which these discussions about the virtues of a vegetarian diet subtly conflate human and animal life–in Florida the prohibition against pig weaning pens, for example is a constitutional amendment!–protection embryonic human beings don’t even have We are indeed to be sensitive to animal life–but it is NOT human life and sometimes I think these arguments miss that point, making all life equal. Taken to its logical extreme–why take the life of a plant?. (reminds me of the fruitarian in Notting Hill who eats only fruit that has fallen from the tree and is collected from the ground…) As the other commentators have noted–meat (and not just fish) is approved in so very many ways in the Bible. Be vegetarian if you wish for health or personal reasons– but do not presume to make it a universal norm!

  • Graham

    One should go vegan on Wednesday and Friday, as was the practice of the primitive Church (as seen the the Didache), and continues to be the practice among the Orthodox.

  • snafubar

    Wasn’t Jesus a fisherman?

    Is fish not meat? Did Jesus not feed the multitudes bread AND fish?

    You may argue whether the methods used for animal husbandry are ethical or moral, but there is no doubt that the first Christians ate fish.

    There is no moral dilemma.

    • Richard A

      No, Jesus was a carpenter. Most of the apostles whose occupations we know werere fishermen (well, actually, only one apostle whose occupation we know was NOT a fisherman).
      I suppose some could argue that Jesus called them away from fishing to a better way of life, but that would ignore some very inconvenient episodes as well. Like, after the resurrection, advising the fishermen-now-apostles how best to catch a very large number of fish.

  • Bill Ford

    Vegetarianism is a disguised form of Hinduism,and mostly originates in Hinduism.

  • Cat

    Hi, farmer here. Turkeys are profoundly dumb. However, they are not dumb enough to drown on their own accord. It’s called natural selection. Turkeys that are that dumb do not pass on their genes in a normal setting. They may have drowned in a rain storm because it was so heavy the rain kept running into their nostrils which are pointed up, not down like ours, but they didn’t stand with their heads up and willingly fill up their lungs with rain water.
    Industrial Agriculture at its worst is a sin, honestly. It is disrespectful towards God’s creation, from plants to humans. It degrades human labor, animal welfare, and the condition of the environment. IA at its best is a blessing. It eliminates a lot of waste and provide healthy food at low cost.
    I’d encourage everyone to do some research. I think the more “natural” an agricultural enterprise is, the better, but I don’t think we need to be vegetarians. We just need to be thoughtful.

  • AcceptingReality

    Seems to me the effort to conflate the use of animals for food with the human right to life is an effort to dilute and obscure the evil of abortion.

  • Tim

    While I would hesitate to use words like “ought” or “should” about vegetarianism, it is clearly true that modern slaughterhouses and factory farming are extremely cruel. Hogs are often dunked in vats of boiled water after being stunned so that their hides can be softened for skinning. Some are not properly stunned when this happens, so it is not unusual for them to be squealing in agony when lowered into boiling water. Hogs are intelligent animals, more intelligent than the average dog, yet they are kept in pens so small that they can’t turn around. This can go on for years, causing them to go literally insane with boredom. Since learning this, I have never eaten pork or bacon. There are many good reasons to eat very little or no meat, some ethical, some economic, some health-related.

  • smokes

    Multiplying the loaves and the tofu?

  • Robbie J

    If the eating of meat was morally reprehensible, or even slightly questionable, then why would Jesus include it in His parable of the prodigal son, where the fatted calf was slaughtered for the celebration? Doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Jim Corcoran

    I’ve been vegan for 25 years and consider it one of the best decisions of my life (my doctor agrees). Here’s a video to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice and why the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years.:

    Also, here’s a link for everyone who wants to follow a compassionate lifestyle: 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

    • Scott W.

      If some Catholics had a tenth the zeal for leading souls to Christ that they had for pseudo-religious veganism, Christendom would be saved.

  • Merengue

    Vegetarians feel they are more loving and empathetic with animals. The fact is that they fail to grasp the glory and greatness of humanity. They are not elevating animals, they are debasing humans.
    I was forced to take classes from an animal-rights activist at a “Catholic” university. Their philosophy is vapid and rooted in materialism and naturalism. They turn a blind eye towards how animals really live in nature, and how much they normally suffer when they die. Two months ago, I watched an alligator catch and clamp down on a soft-shell turtle. That turtle struggled in pain for hours upon hours. It’s nature. Animals are not created in the image and likeness of God. The difference between man and creature is one of essence and telos, not one of ability and intelligence.

  • Catholicanuck

    I read “Ominivore’s Dilemma” and did not find it to be anti-meat at all, although it was certainly anti-factory farming. This is particularly odd because I fully expected it to be anti-meat.

    I highly recommend the book.

  • musicacre

    I only read the last paragraph and that’s enough to say it all; why are people getting sidetracked on amoral issues and getting them mixed up with what’s important? It’s all distraction from extremely important things happening around us.

    • msmischief

      Well, there’s one reason that’s been tested in the lab. If you give participients a chance to buy “green” products, they will then be more likely to lie and cheat (for money) in a subsequent test. That is, by achieving a moral charge in one area, they think to compensate for sins in others — or buy a license to sin.

  • Bob Brown

    If the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity enjoyed meat then why should the rest of us not? Of course all things should be taken in moderation to the Glory of God. In other words don’t stuff yourself with more meat than you need. But by all means, enjoy it as something given us by God to enjoy.

  • John Hinshaw

    Let me be clear: Having been a vegetarian since 1975, I have never found my “consistency” having any effect on anyone, except that it confirms their dismissal of my Pro-Life views as “strange”. It’s bad enough I’m arguing against something so “fundamental” to women (abortion) since they’ve been alive, now I want to tell them what to eat. For the record, no amount of meat consumption is even one percent as bad as destroying a human child. The animal rights movement is powered by unhealed aborted men and women determined to tell themselves they are good people despite their loss. In an essay on vegetarianism in the 1920s, Chesterton predicted that “in 50 years we will have vegetarians killing babies”. As a vegetarian, by all means, I call on everyone to follow our lead. But I have been doing this too long to expect societal benefits.

    • Adam__Baum

      If you suggest we follow your “lead”,that implies a position of primacy, authority, or rectitude you do not posess. As an omnivore since well before 1975, I call on everyone to follow our lead.

  • Allan Daniel

    Camosy appears to have missed a verse:

    29 And God said: Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed upon the
    earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind, to
    be your meat:

    30 And to all beasts of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to all
    that move upon the earth, and wherein there is life, that they may have
    to feed upon. And it was so done.

    He’s silly man attempting to support his eccentric beliefs. He is not convincing.

  • Augustine

    If eating the flesh of animals is good enough for Our Resurrected Lord, the Lord of Life, then it’s good enough for me.

  • Ruben G Sr +

    Academics are not necessarily intelligent or educated, just full of book knowledge. Wisdom and common sense are the foundation of education. These self proclaimed “authentic pro-lifers” are nothing more than, dead from the neck up, knowledgeable derelicts.

  • Thomas C. Coleman, Jr.

    This whole notion that we ought to be living now as we imgaine we will live in Eternity presented me once with the opporutnity for what I thought would be both a good laugh and a challenge to the assumptions of one our Protestant brothers who was an Army chaplin. We were seated together at one of those interfaith dinners that are held on miliatry bases. The good chaplain explained why he was having the veggie only meal, claiming that he could prove from Scripture that we would all eat plants only in the Hereafter. I was just itching to asking if had thought of using that logic as an excuse to leave his wife, since Our Lord assures that that there will be no marriage in Heaven that he ought therefore to start living that way now. I was only deterred from my mischief by the presence of our own chaplain, a singularly humorlesspriest who would not have been amsued. My reticence at the time notwithstanding,I still think that there is no difference between the two notions. Cathlics are simply not called to eat like rabbits, no matter how long our ears are.

    • brians

      You’re ignoring the typology involved in the shedding of blood: quite distinct from that of marriage.

    • Augustine

      Many orders’ members abstain from eating meat for most of the year, except for health reasons. I wonder if this practice has to do with Fridays or with this being a sign of the life to come, just like they are celibate as a sign of the life to come, or both.

  • John Fisher

    Because I don’t have the teeth of a vegetarian and no other human does either. I am a omnivore

  • profling

    All Manichean thinking. St. Paul says, “The Kingdom of God is not food and drink.”

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    I eagerly await this Thanksgiving, when I will carve up and devour the biggest turkey I can find, with at least a few of my nine children gathered around the table. After saying grace, I will open up some bottles of excellent wine, and laugh and laugh about vegetarians.

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  • Kamilla Ludwig


    I’ve looked through the comments below and perhaps I’ve missed something. I agree with you that Mary Eberstadt is a national treasure. That’s why I am so saddened to see her endorse the argument. I cam see two major flaws here.

    The first is that, if our concern is animal welfare, we really must be vegans and not simply vegetarians. The problem with veganism is that it is a diet that is nutritionally deficient. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products. Try living without it and your life will be unpleasant and short. Vegans must consume artificially “fortified” grain and soy or supplement.

    The second and most serious reason is that to argue this makes it easier for us to reach people with a prolife message creates a sort of moral equivalence between the child in the womb and the animal from whence the bacon in my BLT was derived. In a tip of the hat to Wesley Smith, pig is not a boy.

  • Are you pro-life? Not really.

    Willful ignorance, as exhibited by most of the postings, might be bliss but it is also a sin. May God have mercy on your souls, since your bodies are cemeteries.

    • Scott W.

      Since there is a mix of postings with different views here, it’s hard to know to what you are referring.

  • poetcomic1

    Saw a bumper sticker the other day “A HAMBURGER STOPS A BEATING HEART”. A travesty of the pro-life slogan. A sudden sharp insight into the entire sinister dehumanization of modern life by the enemies (and Enemy) of mankind.

  • Vanessa

    Does the Passover lamb ring a bell with Camosy? Or Acts 10:9-16 . ..and more. Has he read the Bible?

  • Steve Dearborn

    I am wondering why such a grace-full and conscious-opening idea generates so much criticism and skepticism from so many knowledgeable people. A good read to start is John Robbins’ book “Diet for a New America”. Read into this more moderately as a mind-opening idea which can positively impact your body, mind and spirit.

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  • Nora

    yeah, factory farming is great! just talk to these 2 farmers who defend it. don’t look over here:

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  • John M. Gilheany

    There is actually a wealth of relatively recent historical insight from vegetarian Christians; many of whom have been Catholic which may be explored at:

  • monica O’Reilly

    My goodness – Jesus was not vegan or vegetarian either! Like all good
    Jews he ate lamb. Further more He told us “unless you eat my body and
    drink my blood….”. He also said “My body is real food indeed and my
    blood is real drink!” Many walked away and left him. This should give
    us pause to contemplate just what is meant by being good managers of all
    creation of which we are co-creators. He also called fishermen to
    follow him, and cooked fish for breakfast for them after his
    We are called to love and respect and use for the
    good of everyone, all of creation – every part of which is “good”. When
    we eat vegetables we are killing them and they are part of God’s
    creatures. Also they contain within them seeds for the next generation
    which never have a chance to mature if we kill the vegetable!
    Vegetarians kill vegetables to eat them.
    I grew up on a chicken
    farm. There was no cruelty allowed. The chickens were free range –
    their barn spotless. We had an enormous vegetable garden. The bantums
    roamed through the garden keeping down the bugs. We used no chemicals.
    All was seen as a gift from God and we thanked him for his abundance.
    Much was given away to those in need – eggs, chickens, fruit and
    vegetables. I believe that this type of life ethic is what Pope
    Francis, Pope Benedict and Genesis is calling us to live.