Pope Francis, condemn the bullfight

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(Featured image: Bull knocks over horse in Spanish bullfight. Credit Nathan Rupert, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / cropped)

As a practicing Catholic, I am saddened to say that the moral aspect of our treatment of other creatures is a part of Catholic teaching that our Catholic leaders have long neglected. Pope Francis is trying to put that right. Let’s take advantage of that.

The Spanish bullfight, the corrida, is the ritual torturing to death of bulls. It is practiced by Catholics, in a Catholic country, and paid for by Catholic spectators, as well as by tourists.

The Catholic religion is further associated with the corrida in various ways including bullfights taking place to celebrate feast days of Saints.

THE CORRIDA

The Corrida is the ritual torturing to death of bulls in the guise of entertainment. Horses also are cruelly abused, maimed and killed during the bullfight.

Before the bull enters the ring, he is damaged to lessen his fighting ability. The methods which could be used include shaving down his horns, rubbing Vaseline into his eyes, severing the tendons on the back of his neck, stuffing wet newspapers into his ears, pushing cotton wool into his nostrils, sticking needles into his genitals, rubbing a burning chemical into his legs.

During the bullfight, the bull suffers prolonged and agonizing torture before he dies.

First, picadors stab the bull in the neck with lances. Then banderilleros stick spears into the bull’s shoulders. Then the matador thrusts his sword between the bull’s shoulder blades into his heart. This can take several attempts. If it’s botched, a sword is then used to cut the bull’s spinal cord. The bull is confused, distressed and in agony throughout this spectacle. Many thousands of bulls are used in bullfights every year.  Thousands of horses also are injured or killed every year in bullfights.

Pope St. Pius V described bullfights as “a spectacle for demons rather than men.” The corrida brings the Catholic Church into disrepute for the following reasons:

  1. It is associated with Catholic countries: Spain and Portugal.
  2. Its extreme cruelty makes it a serious sin, yet priests and bishops have remained silent about it, or have promoted it.
  3. Catholics who attend Mass and receive the Sacraments also attend the corrida.
  4. Bullfights are held to benefit local churches, and in honour of specific saints.
  5. The Catholic Encyclopedia online actually makes excuses for and defends the bullfight.

Please ask the Pope to condemn the bullfight by sending a message through Twitter or Facebook: @Pontifex / Catholic Church

You may prefer to just copy and paste the following: “Pope Francis, show your concern for creation by condemning the bullfight.”

Many thanks,

Virginia Bell
Catholic Action for Animals

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About Author

In response to Pope Francis’ call for dialogue and action concerning the care of our common home, Catholic Action for Animals (a group of Catholics in Milton Keynes) has set up a local parish group which meets once a month, to educate about and promote concern for our fellow creatures, and to be a witness to the Church’s concern for animals, There is much to do, as Catholic clergy are usually silent about animal matters, which is reflected in church-goers' attitudes towards animals. Click to see author's profile.

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