A Catholic Theological Framework for Animal Ethics
Christopher Steck SJ
The book is the first of its kind to draw together in conversation the views of the early Church, contemporary biblical and theological scholarship, and post-conciliar teachings. Steck develops a comprehensive, Catholic theology of animals based on an in-depth exploration of Catholicism's fundamental doctrines—trinitarian theology, Christology, pneumatology, eschatology, and soteriology.
All God's Animals makes two central claims. First, we can hope that God will include animals of the present age in the kingdom inaugurated by Christ. Second, because of this inclusion, our responses to animals should be guided by the values of the kingdom.
As Christians await the final liberation of all creation, they are to be witnesses to God’s kingdom by embodying its ideals in their relations with animal life. Because the kingdom's fullness is yet to come and because our world remains marked by the wounds of sin, however, Christian treatment of animals will at times require acts that are at odds with the kingdom’s ideals (for example, those causing suffering and death). Steck examines each of these ideas and explores all of their complexities.
Animals as Fellow Creatures of the Covenant
Tradition: Learning to See Animals
Creation: The Imago Dei and a Covenantal Anthropocentrism
Redemption: The Divine Magis and Animals
Santification: The Spirit's Cosmic Embrace
Ethics: Ministers of the Eschatological Covenant
About the Author
"Christopher Steck does more than just invigorate the concept of covenant as a grounding for a convincing Roman Catholic approach to a theology of animals. By drawing extensively on the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar and showing brilliantly that the flaw in Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of exclusivity of redemption to humans was related to his faulty science, he draws together a provocative account of a theology of redemption for animals. Steck's fluent text has given scholars and students alike an important contribution to the growing literature on animal theology and ethics."—Celia Deane-Drummond, Director and professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
"Steck has written the first substantive theology of animals in a Roman Catholic context, which is an invaluable new contribution to the field. His careful and well-informed argument makes a strong case for Christians to reconsider their practice, especially with regard to current patterns of using animals for food."—David Clough, Professor of theological ethics, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Chester
"The book will be an important touchpoint for scholars following the interchange between animal studies and Christian theology, especially as that conversation pertains to ecological theology."—Theological Studies
Rev. Christopher Steck, SJ, who earned his Ph.D. at Yale, has been a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University since 1999. In addition to his book The Ethical Thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar, he has published many articles dealing with theoretical issues in Catholic moral theology.
264 pp., 6 x 9
264 pp., 6 x 9
Moral Traditions series
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