Did Pope Francis say animals go to Heaven?

No, he did not say that animals go to Heaven. Here are links to a couple of news reports on the subject:
Business Insider
The Guardian

Animals cannot go to Heaven because they are not made in the image of God, as human persons are.

{1:26} And he said: “Let us make Man to our image and likeness. And let him rule over the fish of the sea, and the flying creatures of the air, and the wild beasts, and the entire earth, and every animal that moves on the earth.”
{1:27} And God created man to his own image; to the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them.

Man has dominion over the animals because human persons have an immortal soul, with free will and the ability to reason abstractly. Animal souls are not immortal; when the animal dies, the soul ceases to exist.

What was Pope Francis saying then? He was talking about life after the general Resurrection, which will certainly include a new heaven and a new earth.

{20:11} And I saw a great white throne, and One sitting upon it, from whose sight earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them.
{20:12} And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in view of the throne. And books were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by those things that had been written in the books, according to their works.
{20:13} And the sea gave up the dead who were in it. And death and Hell gave up their dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

{21:1} I saw the new heaven and the new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea is no more.

After death, each human person is judged by God, and then sent to Heaven, or Purgatory, or Hell. But at the general Resurrection, all human souls are given bodies, and they all stand before God to be judged “each one according to his works”. The resurrected Just are given glorious bodies, befitting of their virtues. The resurrected Unjust (from Hell) are given horrific bodies, befitting of their unrepentant grave sins. Then the Unjust are thrown into a new Hell. But the Just dwell forever in the new Heaven as well as the new Earth.

The new earth will have plants and animals. Perhaps, at that time, God will recreate, in that new world, animals or pets like those we had cherished during our mortal lives (long since passed at that time). But this in no way implies that animals die and have their souls brought up to Heaven.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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One Response to Did Pope Francis say animals go to Heaven?

  1. Ruby says:

    USA Today and CNN are reporting now that it was actually Paul VI who comforted a boy whose dog died by saying this. Can you believe it ? Don’t believe anything you read on the internet about Francis. The media is out of control.

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