Priests Starving Cats
by Elisa Black-Taylor
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 sj*@st*********.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!