The Task of Moral Theology vis-a-vis Non-Human Animals

“As moral theologians, our first responsibility in writing about the moral treatment of non-human animals is to understand and communicate God’s story about them. That story, as I understand it, is first and foremost a story of God’s providential love and concern for each species of animal, including the individuals of each species. And an aspect of God’s providential love are the ends of each animal, ends by which it flourishes as a member of its species. On this understanding, part of human stewardship of our fellow creatures consists in seeking to understand the flourishing of various species and the conditions un- der which various species flourish. And when possible, to facilitate or at least seek to avoid diminishing the capacity of God’s creatures to flourish according to their kind.” – John Berkman “From Theological Speciesism to a Theological Ethology: Where Catholic Moral Theology Needs to Go” in Journal of Moral Theology July 2014