He irritated me. As a former Roman Catholic myself, I don't mind saying it either.
He was writing in response to the outcry in the animal rights community over the Canadian seal hunt.
He focuses specifically on PETA and Sea Shepherd, Jeremy Bentham and Peter Singer, and seems to overlook the broad range of outrage in the world. And he starts hitting below the belt.
Regrettably, most of the parties seem to be on parallel tracks and there isn't much chance of them finding common ground until all the parties begin to address the social movement which parades under the heading of "animal rights."
Parades under the heading of "animal rights?"
Oh, but it gets better. Then he brings in abortion and stem cell research and calls into question Ingrid Newkirk's pro-choice position.
And here's the kicker.
"Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.
"It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons."
While we are called to respect all creation and must use it wisely, the key is "we can use it."
So we shouldn't show animals affection the way we show it to humans? Even though some animals may show certain people more love and acceptance than the humans in their lives? And don't give money to animal causes? I don't think that animal causes are swimming in money. There is plenty of money out there for human causes; in fact, the vast majority goes there. The problems contributing to human misery are derived from global economics and geopolitics. The small amount of money for animal causes is hurting no one.
Besides, there are so many things to talk about when it comes to the Catholic Church. I am an atheist so I don't believe that somehow a God came along and told humans to use animals. We evolved into a predator species and we did it naturally. Because we can communicate, read and write, we can control information and design a society where we can justify our "use" of species. WE made that decision. Not a non-existent God. And, even if there were a God, I still don't believe that this point has been made clear to anyone.
History belongs to the victor. We are the victors in this case, at least for now. So, Bishop Henry, it doesn't surprise me that you will find any argument possible that will elevate your species and justify its "use" of others. The Catholic Church has done that so many times before, with other human groups, and "paraded" itself as speaking the word of God.
(By the way, Bishop Henry, tell me again why can't women be priests? Aren't all humans equally above animals?)