PETA is willing to pay cash to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in the aftermath of an issued intent to file bankruptcy under the pressures of the settled and ongoing lawsuits for sexual crimes against parishioners. Some view PETA’s offer as a type of extortion, others see no conflict with the Church signing on to endorse protection of God’s creatures. On January 6th, PETA sent a letter to The Most Rev. Jerome E. Listecki, archbishop of Milwaukee (See reprint of letter below), with an offer that could help the archdiocese not only ease its financial woes somewhat but also, according to PETA, rebuild its image as a force for positive change.
They ask that the Archdiocese display a statue—furnished by PETA—that depicts Jesus holding a lamb and bears the inscription “Blessed Are the Merciful—Go Vegan,” and PETA will pay the church hard cash. PETA’s offer comes on the heels of reports that the archdiocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of extensive litigation surrounding sex scandals. In the letter, PETA points out that Jesus would be appalled to witness today’s treatment of God’s animals who are raised and killed for food. Milwaukee’s Green Living Examiner secured a copy of the letter made public by PETA:
January 6, 2011
The Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki Archbishop of Milwaukee Your Excellency,
I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters to express our condolences regarding your recent bankruptcy announcement and to suggest a partnership into the future that would put your diocese in the news for something laudable and forward-thinking. One thing I love about being Catholic is the Church’s focus on service, especially to the meekest among us. That is why PETA would like to offer to erect a statue on the grounds of the Archdiocese’s headquarters depicting Jesus holding a lamb, with an inscription reading, “Blessed Are the Merciful. Go Vegan.” Please see the attached artwork for a better idea of what we are suggesting.
We hope that you like it and see its inherent value for the Church, but we would also be happy to pay a reasonable sum, which will help a bit as the diocese restructures its finances. The routine treatment of animals in today’s meat, dairy, and egg industries goes against everything that Holy Mother Church stands for: Chickens and turkeys routinely have their throats cut while they are still conscious, piglets have their tails and testicles removed without any painkillers, fish are suffocated or cut open while still alive on the decks of fishing boats, and terrified calves are torn away from their bellowing mothers just hours after birth. When Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) was asked about the rights of animals in a 2002 interview, he denounced the institutionalized cruelty of factory farming, saying:
Animals, too, are God’s creatures . . . . Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.
Our statue would honor Christ’s message of service and compassion and help demonstrate that the church is a force for positive change. I would be honored to hear from you if you would like to discuss our offer further. Thank you for your consideration. In Christ’s light,
Bruce Friedrich Vice President
At this time, Reverend Jerome Listecki is not know to have responded to the offer.
Amy Lou Jenkins is the author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting.
“Nothing less than Sensational”—Minneapois Star Tribune
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