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Those darned church cats

Those darned church cats

There are many issues facing the American expression of Christianity in the 21st century, but over at Ministry Matters, Greg Gregory is helpfully highlighting and offering solutions to a quiet but perhaps pernicious problem – church cats (here and here)

That’s right, church cats.  Though they may be good at ridding the belfry of its bats, their feline proclivities can be a nightmare.

Regarding the propensity of many cats to sit in laps during worship, this is, as you have pointed out, as awkward as it is absolutely inappropriate. What a liability nightmare for the paid church staff. I find myself at a momentary loss to offer an adequate characterization of the ordeal. Shall we appeal to cats’ perpetual adolescence? To cats’ intellective dullness and indiscriminate imitation, oft on Sunday mornings, of behaviors observed at the youth meeting on Sunday nights? Or shall we appeal to cats’ brute and indisputable sociopathy, wont to offer caresses while enthralling you with the imperialism of their pheromones, and wont to sit in your lap during worship both before and after biting or scratching you savagely.

But why are these church cats so difficult?

Cats hate our freedom. Theologically, this is due to the fact that your literacy — your understanding of many written words and your correspondingly greater participation in the divine Word — entails a greater similitude to the infinite, incomprehensible and utterly unconstrained majesty of divine omnipotence, which is unlimited everywhere and divided nowhere. Cats, pathetic vis-à-vis both literacy and power, are pathetically if understandably resentful. At the liturgy, while others are glorifying the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit by both their being and their willing, cats glorify the Holy Trinity with their being or existence only — and certainly unwillingly.

Kudos to Greg Gregory and Ministry Matters for giving due attention this and bringing some much-needed light-hearted joy into the world.

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John Rabb

Maybe looking carefully at the role of all animals in regard to worship will let us look more carefully at a much practiced blessing of animals in celebration of St. Francis. In general we Franciscans prefer the focus be on the issues of justice, service to those in need and in the words we often use be willing to "kiss the lepers." It took a Jesuit being Pope taking on the name of Francis to have people realize Francis is not about the sentimentality of our pets, but humble service. By the way I am a cat person.

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Eric Bonetti

Being deathly allergic to cats, I'm glad we don't have one at my parish. But they do make champion mousers and ratters--at least until they bring a semi-dead offering and put it at your feet!

That said, Emily, the dog at the parish where I work, is great company and quite the character--she yawns loudly when she feels an injustice has been done aka she has been ignored!

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Shirley O'Shea

Hasn't Greg Gregory read Christopher Smart's poem of praise and gratitude for his cat, in which he concluded:

"For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in compleat cat."

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Ann Fontaine

We had a church cat at St John's Jackson WY: the Archbishop of Catterbury aka Archie. We kept him in the offices not in the sanctuary -- too many with allergies for that. He had a column in our newsletter and noticed many things as well as offering advice on Episcopaliana.

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