Priests Starving Cats

Priests Starving Cats

by Elisa Black-Taylor
(USA)

I’ve entitled this article Priests Starving Cats to inform the readers here of a situation going on at St. James Parrish in Manhattan, NY. St. Josephs Parrish is also mentioned in some of the references I checked. I considered substituting “priests” for “Christians” and will explain why later in this article.

It’s not very often I attack any religious community. But the situation taking place with Father Lino Gonsalves and Father Walter Tonelotto is serious and breaks Christian Bible scripture.

There are eight cats living on church grounds. These cats were part of a TNR program and volunteers in the community care for the cats. Their historical church, once a wonderful example of how successful TNR can be, is now going against the eight cats, the pope’s example and their Biblical teachings.

The priests have decided to starve these eight cats to make them leave the property. The groundskeeper threatened to poison the cats if they didn’t leave. The cats are into their second week of not being fed. I searched online before beginning this article and haven’t found any evidence the cats have been fed.

The priests went so far as to call the police when a caretaker came onto property several days ago to feed the cats. The caretaker escaped before the police arrived.

Elizabeth Eller, a TNR advocate who has been caring for the colony since 2009, has stated there are no barns or other shelters nearby where the cats can go if they do leave church property.

The church has argued no one has threatened to poison the cats. Their main concern is the cats are destroying church property. Officials say they have no problem with caretakers placing food outside church grounds. The church also has no problem with the cats being removed by the caretakers. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, as feral colonies are very territorial.

Rodents are a big problem in this area. Yet the rat population on church grounds is minimal, thanks to the feral cats.

I find the behavior of these priests both strange and deplorable. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI allows the feeding of feral cats on Vatican grounds. He’s a true lover of cats and obeys the scripture. Why aren’t the priests at St. James following his example?

Now for the scripture references and other religious teachings. Everyone at pictures-of-cats is about to get a crash course in how God says man is to treat cats.

* A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. Proverbs 12:10.

* If you see an animal that is overburdened, you should lighten its load to help it. Deuteronomy 22 and Exodus 23.

* Animals were saved from the flood and made a part of the covenant with Noah. Genesis 9:9-10

*St. Francis of Assisi(1181-1226) called all animals ‘brother” and “sister” because they came from the same heavenly Father. His belief was animals should be treated like family. Cared for and protected.

* Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pay attention priests, this one’s for YOU. 2415-2418. Especially 2418 which states “it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly.”

These priests are breaking the laws God and the church laid down for them!

Mike Phillips, community outreach coordinator of Feral Cat Initiative (part of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals) recently wrote Cardinal Dolan and begged him to see the cats fed.

Father Lino can be reached by email at sjc@stjosephnyc.org. (the Archdiocese of NY and the Vatican will be copied on your e-mail) or by calling (212)267-8376.

This story will either be resolved and the cats fed or the cats will leave or die. What troubles me most is this type of behavior is going on all over the world by people who are supposed to be following the teaching of their particular God. I’ve learned through my many friends that no matter the religion, animals tend to take high priority and should be treated kindly.

Yet there are people professing to follow the teachings of their religion on Sunday or whatever day they worship, then go back to their normal week. I’m concerned about those who operate businesses involving dumpsters who trap cats and turn them over to the local shelter for murder. Or they prohibit the feeding of ferals on their property. I have one friend who feeds a colony of around 80 ferals and he must sneak onto the property after hours.

As listed in the scripture above, feral cats earn their keep. I’d much rather feed a bunch of feral cats who keep down the rodent population than have to explain to my customers why my business has rats! I fed a colony of ferals when I managed a convenience store. Every night I’d have to count and dispose of left over hot dog weiners and I’d break them apart for the cats living near the dumpster. These cats never came around during the day.

Which I wouldn’t doubt is the case at St. James Church. So what IS their problem and can we stop this? Not only here, but on a local level dealing with business owners who for some reason hate feral cats.

Comments, readers? I’ll leave this one wide open for you. I’ll close this article in saying it’s no wonder so many have turned away from organized religion. There are just too many hypocrites out there preaching be kind to all things and then something like this occurs involving those who preach against this.

Shame on you, priests! You may not have to answer to me, but someday you WILL answer for what you’re doing to those poor feral cats!

Elisa

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Priests Starving Cats

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Mar 30, 2012
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Someone who might help
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

I plan to attempt to contact the head of the Catholic church in New York, H.E. Timothy Cardinal Dolan concerning the despicable behavior of these priests. He is a man who is everything these priests are not, someone who has the love of Christ dwelling richly in him. Back when he was the Archbishop of Milwaukee I had the honor and privilege of meeting him when the school where I was teaching music was invited to come celebrate Mass with him at the cathedral downtown. They let me play the organ! He was so kind to me. His brother, Bob, used to be on the radio here and after hearing stories about “his brother the bishop” for years, I kind of felt I knew the archbishop already. I believe he would help, so I plan to look into finding his contact information. I’m glad I remembered him, because it reminded me that there are some Christians out there who are able to preach Christ crucified by their deeds as well as through their words.


Mar 29, 2012
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Priests should reconsider
by: Ruth (Monty’s Mom)

These priests can debate what humans owe other species on the planet according to the Bible’s teachings, but the Bible is mote than clear as to what will happen to those who cause others to fall away from Christ. How will this story affect children who hear it? What will be their impression of Christ and His church when they hear that those who stand in Christ’s place, His very messengers on earth, are starving poor, helpless kitties. This story is out there. As the priest’s heartlessness towards these cats becomes known people will be turned off by it. Turned off enough to be driven away from Christ. We cannot decide to believe in Jesus or not– faith comes through the Word by the working of the Holy Spirit. But we can choose whether or not to walk in the door of a church, to seek help from the church in a moment of physical or spiritual need, to pick up a Bible and read it or not. If all I knew of Christianity was the report of the behavior of these priests I know I’d stay as far away from it as possible. Christ says if anyone causes someone (“one of these little ones”) to fall away from Him it would be better for him if a mill stone were tied around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. I’m sure there are plenty of humans who would like to get their hands around the necks of these priests right now! But it’s not not human vengeance they have to worry about. They need to repent and start to demonstrate Christ’s love. Starving these cats is upsetting to lots of people and the priests should have considered that, even if they don’t have respect for animals. They should have greater respect for the sensibilities of the souls in their care at the very least, and give consideration for not only how their actions will cause suffering for the cats but how the bad PR will hurt their mission to bring Christ’s message to people. They are preaching a very different “gospel” by their actions. Faith without good works is dead. I question whether these priests know Christ at all.


Mar 26, 2012
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Meeting
by: Michael

Apparently the uproar has prompted an archdiocese meeting to resolve the matter. These priests have forgotten what priests are meant to do.

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”—Francis of Assisi.


Mar 23, 2012
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Not so holy
by: Edward

Them priests need to be taught a lesson about humanity but Im afraid some religious people I know dont care about cats like we do who come here. They need to read their Bibles a bit more instead of showing off at Church and being holier than thou.
Ed


Mar 23, 2012
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Not ft to be priests
by: Mrs M

I love that from the Gospel of the Holy Twelve. The cruel priests need to read that.
They are surely supposed to follow in Jesus Christ’s footsteps.
Starving those cats says to me they are not doing so and are not fit to be priests.


Mar 23, 2012
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Media attention
by: Anonymous

This needs media attention. Contact the papers and TV, and Alley Cat Allies.


Mar 23, 2012
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Put the priests outside
by: Anonymous

Put the priests outside. No food, no money. Forbid anyone helping them on pain of the police as they did to the caretaker.


Mar 22, 2012
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rats
by: elisa

The references said the rats are terrible except in the direct vicinity of the church. Those cats are earning their keep.


Mar 22, 2012
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St. James’s kitties
by: Sally

Did you send your blog to the priests? The scripture you quote should convince them!


Mar 22, 2012
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Are You Sure They’re From New York?
by: Anonymous

I lived in New York City for over a year. If anybody’s lived there long enough they know there’s a problem with rats that appear to be the size of a Buick.
In the place where I lived during that 2003 blackout of the TriState Area, our friend’s cat El Dorado caught a mouse and was eating it while we had to scarf down as many peanuts as we could find, b/c all the stores perishables perished.
You mean they live in New York City and DON’T know there are gigantic rats and bugs to match?
Cats eat bugs too.


Mar 22, 2012
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Sad and Upsetting
by: Dinah Lees

I find the priest’s behaviour both sad and very upsetting. I cannot understand or want to believe that these priests would willing starve any creature or indeed would wish them to leave the area under any circumstance.
All I can think is that these priests do not believe in or practice what they preach….


Mar 22, 2012
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Christs message for those Priests
by: Ruth

There is a book called “The Gospel of the Holy Twelve” said to be a translation of an early Christian document found in a Buddhist monastery in Tibet. One legend in it seems to be among those things left out of the Bible when they ought to have been put in, for they bring before us the mind of Jesus Christ much more clearly than some other recordings by the disciples.

“As Jesus entered a certain village, He saw a young cat which had none to care for her, and she was hungry and cried unto Him, and He took her up, and put her inside His garment, and she lay in His bosom. And when He came into the village He set food and drink before the cat, and she ate and drank, and showed thanks unto Him. And He gave her unto one of His disciples, who was a widow, whose name was Lorenza, and she took care of her. And some of the people said, “This man careth for all creatures. Are they His brothers and sisters that He should love them?” And He said unto them, “Verily, these are your fellow creatures, of the great Household of God; yea they are brothers and sisters, having the same breath of life in the Eternal. And whosoever careth for one of the least of these, and giveth it to eat and drink in it’s need the same doeth it unto me; and whosoever willingly suffereth one of these creatures to be in want, and defendeth it not when evilly treated, suffereth the evil as done unto me.”

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Mar 22, 2012
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God is Watching
by: Lindy Fellober

Being a Christian I believe God is watching this situation and others. What I believe is if an individual would deliberately withhold food or water from an animal if they can help they would do it to a human. Maybe I am wrong and I am not anyone’s judge but I find it sad. It is like giving something in one hand and taking it back in the other.

God created all things. These ferals are out there through no fault of their own.

We put food out for some ferals in our area and I couldn’t do that to them, as I couldn’t live with myself. These little souls depend on some food where they can find it and liquid, water and a kind word and if you can’t see fit to do it then don’t start something you can’t finish.

Our little pet family gets what they need to best of my ability.

God be with these dear ferals.

These gentleman, priests should read Job 12 and take note.


Mar 22, 2012
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Dare I say it?
by: Michael

This does not surprise me. Priests are no better behaved and no different to anyone else. They have all the usual failings and strengths. The church does seem to attract pedaphiles however because they work with children.

Anyway, something similar happened here in London, not with cats but people. The clergy at St. Pauls Cathedral wanted to clear out the Occupy London protestors. This was late last year and the early part of this year (2012).

It dawned on them late in the day that the prostestors were being more Christian in their behavior than the clergy of the famous St. Pauls Cathedral. The Cathedral charges for entrance and has a restaurant in the crypt that charges. It is commercial – the money changers had occupied this mighty symbol of Christianity.

They changed their mind but too late to stop people realising that the church is part of the establishment and they simply want to keep the status quo and not have anything upset that even feral cats and protestors.

In the instance you describe, Elisa, the priests are showing their true colors: mean spirited and not godly or compassionate.



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