Does he really not know how terribly wrong it is for circuses to be taking these animals from the wild, breeding them and raising the cubs in captivity so they can entertain ignorant people by jumping through hoops and sitting on stools?
What is it about the Vatican that seems so hopelessly out of touch with the nonhuman world?
Ironically, this papal imprimatur was taking place at exactly the same time as the city of Los Angeles was preparing for a vote that will ban all circuses from entering the city if they include animals in their acts.
We respect the fact that the Pope is said to have a special fondness for cats. But the Catholic Church has got to get out of the business of disrespecting wildlife.
Just two months ago, we wrote about how deeply involved it is in the international ivory trade that’s already left elephants on the brink of extinction.
The lions, too, are now all but extinct in Africa. And having the Pope put a stamp of approval on the circus business can only encourage lion poachers to further acts of violence – including killing mother lions so they can steal the cubs and sell them to circuses and zoos around the world.
Our own species urgently needs to build a new relationship with our fellow animals and the world of nature. At a time when we humans have brought on a Sixth Great Extinction, you’d think that this would be a top priority at the Vatican and other religious HQ’s worldwide.
Sadly, this week’s spectacle in St. Peter’s Square shows just how far away from any understanding of this our major religions truly are.