Big news it seemed happened recently when Pope Francis reportedly stated that “all animals go to heaven.” That report has been corrected to indicate that it was one of his predecessors, Pope Paul VI who reportedly stated “Paradise is open to all creatures.” The mix-up occurred during Pope Francis’ weekly address in which he stated that “creation of this marvelous design concerns all that surrounds us” and the media outlets also reported on what it was said that Pope Paul VI said because in their minds the two statements were similar. Which strains my considerable imagination linking the two but then again I’m not in the media. And, of course, any pope, infallibility notwithstanding, making this kind of semi-miraculous revelation would indeed be big news – kind of like letting the rest of us humans in on what really happened with Eve – I have it under good authority she was framed, by the way.
I know there are a few too many variations of the word ”report” in the paragraph above and I apologize for not being able to say with certainty that Pope Paul VI did indeed say the words “all animals go to heaven.” It seems to me though that there’s nothing really mind-blowing about that statement apart from to whom it was attributed and from my perspective it seems to be an overstatement of what we already know – animals and humans are often together after their physical forms are shed as eternal spiritual beings. It may seem natural to you to believe that your animal companions will be with you in other dimensions and for some people that will be a completely surprising concept. Yet when I add to that picture that all the animals of a lifetime even if they didn’t know each other are connected in other dimensions because of their individual relationships with you – that one usually gives most folks paws – uh – pause.
I’ve written before that I think the terms “heaven” or “afterlife” or “final resting place” are ones that were created for the human species because of the comfort it offers us when we think of our own eventual death and it certainly seems to answer several questions that come up when we think about death. These concepts also exist, I believe, for design purposes of religious dogma because it correlates so beautifully with the duality of existence on our planet (light and shadow) and forms a basis for pressure to behave in accordance with the dogma while we’re alive if you choose to believe the dogma. When it comes to animal transitions they honestly think of it as walking from one room to the other and don’t concern themselves with names about the rooms or beliefs about what they’ll find when they get there. They accept without reservation the release of the physical form because they are so aligned with the spirit body as their main source of energy. Sure, they enjoy the leaping, the jumping, the bouncing about and the cuddling and snuggling and kisses we share between physical forms. All that really pales in comparison to the heart and soul bond we share with them – this is their wellspring of comfort when they do transition because they know of its permanence.
It’s not uncommon for animals to gather together as welcoming party when their human guardian transitions and sometimes it’s a raucous crowd indeed! The individual soul bonds formed between animal and human don’t cease when the physical form is removed because they are not seated in the body – they are seated in the spirit which continues. So that when one animal transitions during one part of a human’s life and another animal transitions at a later part of the same human’s life it is because of that one human those two animals come together. What a fabulous concept of family, right? That our physical knowingness of each other while wonderful and important in our animal or human experience is not the basis for the continuation of shared energy and even better that anyone who has been part of this energy is now a family member. Photo credit: The Dog and His Man by Cristian Iohan Ştefănescu.