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Priests Starve Cats at St. James Church

March 19, 2012 | Cats / TNR / Take Action

Church Groundskeeper Threatens Poisoning as Next Step

Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

New York, NY "“ Monday, March 19, 2012 "“ The small colony of eight feral cats has not been fed for almost two weeks at historic St. James Church in lower Manhattan. Father Lino Gonsalves and Father Walter Tonelotto have locked out caretakers there in an effort to starve the cats off church property. The priests refuse to meet with the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals to discuss any plan for cat care, though caretakers are willing to address any concerns the church may have for security or hygiene. Where will the cats be welcomed if even a church is throwing them out?

Those who wish to comment directly to St. James Church officials can e-mail Father Lino Gonsalves at sjc@stjosephnyc.org. (The Archdiocese of New York and the Vatican will be copied on your e-mail.) You may also call Father Lino Gonsalves of St. James Church at (212) 267-8376 or Joseph Zwilling, Communications Director for the Archdiocese of New York, at (212) 371-1011 x2997.

Historic Manhattan church in catfight over feral colony by Amy Sacks and Lisa L. Colangelo, New York Daily NewsSaturday, March 17, 2012

The cats are all neutered and vaccinated, following the guidelines of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), the only proven effective and humane method for controlling feral cat populations. When contacted for comment by the New York Daily News, Father Gonsalves derided, "The cats will not be poisoned, but we don't want the people to feed them on church property." Since the church owns all property in the vicinity, does the Father imagine that starving them out is somehow less cruel? Eradication of the cats is clearly the church's goal, if not by poison as once declared by the groundskeeper, then by starvation. Until now, St. James' feral colony was a model TNR project for which the church could be credited with humane leadership by example. This recent public banishment of the cats sends a very cruel signal to others facing the decision of how to approach feral cat management. Read more...

Comments

This church is disgusting and should be shut down ASAP! I hope these priests go to Hell like they always tell us.

I believe there are other more effective and humane ways to take care of that problem. Starving those feral cats is cruel and there are better solutions to that.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, clearly states, "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. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. . . . It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly." I do not think the starving of feral cats fits within this teaching. Pope John Paul II proclaimed that "the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with our smaller brethren." He went on to say that all animals are "fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and merit respect" and that they are "as near to God as men are." I do not think his late Holiness would approve the Church of St James starving the cats living within its protection. Pope Benedict XVI has spoken movingly about the exploitation of all beings, particularly of farmed animals. When asked about the rights of animals in a 2002 interview, he said, "That is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God's creatures . . . ." I would like to see a follow-up to this story so we know what is happening now.

GOD CREATED THE CAT. ALL LIFE IS HIS TO GIVE AND TAKE...NO OTHER HAS THE RIGHT. KILLING IS EASY, SAVING LIFE MAY BE HARD, BUT JESUS TAUGHT US THAT, AND DIED FOR HIS BELIEF.A 'CHURCH' THAT KILLS IS NO CHURCH, AND IT'S DOORS SHOULD BE CLOSED. THE BIBLE TEACHES US THAT GOD CARES ABOUT THE FEATHER OF A BIRD

The church should be shut down immediately.

I agree with Mark C. Stevens. Using NYC's existing animal cruelty laws looks like a good way to handle this situation, and mudslinging does not. Simon Teolis's comment about "Cstholic scum" was particularly ugly and should have been moderated prior to posting. As for the person who used the word "A-holes"...I thought there was a caveat on this page stating that "comments inappropriate for a readership of all ages may be deleted." If you contact St. James' Church, please remember that you are more likely to be listened to if you sound factual, reasonable, and polite but firm. Let's keep it about the animals, not personal grudges.

I believe In Recarnation: what goes around, comes a round. God will Never forgive you. These are God's Creatures. Remember This Day ? 3/20/ 2012. May God be With you.

Regarding the image of Jesus Christ holding a sheep, unfortunately, the Christian church sees images of Jesus and the sheep as a parable of god and his people. they do not see this image as a kind compassionate man caring for animals... many Christians/Catholics see animals as merely 'put' here for human use which frequently leads to abuse. So trying to touch their hearts with an image of JC caring for sheep will have no effect. they will simply raise their cruel eyebrows and laugh out of one side of their mean mouths. I don't know how one can reach a person (priest or otherwise) who has decided that cats are vermin. the only way to help these particular cats is to try in any way one can to get them out of that place. Sharon

I say we all go to church on Sunday...this church and halfway through the sermon we put on cat masks and start meowing and begging for food. Who is with me?

I hope that these priests go to hell like they say all of us will.. Get the cats out of there...

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