Andy Alexis-Baker has a nice article at The Mennonite on Jesus’s actions in the temple (you know, turning over tables, whipping people, and driving out the money changers). He argues that careful consideration of Jesus’s reaction to the doves – pausing to tell the dove sellers to take the caged birds out of the temple – not only pose a challenge to the idea that Jesus was throwing an unrestrained and violent tantrum, but might also suggest that the Christian ethic of non-violent peacemaking needs to be expanded to include God’s other creatures as well as humans. The article is short and worth a read.
“Not to hurt our humble brethren [the animals] is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission: To be of service to them whenever they require it” – St. Francis of Assisi
“Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God…there is something so dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.” – Cardinal John Henry Newman
“[St. Francis] looked upon creation with the eyes of one who could recognize in it the marvelous work of the hand of God. His solicitous care, not only towards men, but also towards animals is a faithful echo of the love with which God in the beginning pronounced his ‘fiat’ which brought them into existence. We too are called to a similar atttitude.” – Pope John Paul II
“What is a charitable heart? It is a heart which is burning with charity for the whole of creation, for men, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons – for all creatures. He who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without his eyes becoming filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes his heart; a heart which is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain, being inflicted upon a creature. This is why such a man never ceases to pray also for the animals.”
-St. Isaac the Syrian, cited in Vladimir Lossky’s, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church.