Dogs during Mass?



Talk amoungst yourselves...


I've twice had animals come into the church on me. Once, a dog who walked up and sat himself in front of the ambo (at a Dominican church -- quite fitting). The second, I had a cat walk in that cat-like devil-may-care way up and down the aisle. The bishop, who was visiting the parish, told us "Oh, hello Baxter." I thought perhaps the bishop had brought his cat, so as I came down from doing the reading, I picked up the cat and took it outside, trying to figure out how one gets rid of a bishop's cat at Mass. Turns out, the bishop had seen the cat outside and had read the tags.

Must have been the feast of St. Francis.

I would guess that working dogs attend services all the time so the blind may navigate the church though I haven't the foggiest as to what are the norms.

Last yr. I played for a wedding where the ring-bearer was a dog (don't ask how he carried the rings -- I couldn't see it in the mirror). Calvin (yes, that was his name) was very well-behaved and almost reverent, far more so than many of the humans. Animal-lover though I am, I don't think pets belong in church unless they're guide dogs, or they're brought in for a blessing of the pets, as happens at our local community center once a year. The pooch in the photo comes across as well-behaved, and the way he's sitting gives the impression that he's a working dog. (Or she-- I tend to call all dogs "he".) Our pastor has a photo of himself officiating at the wedding with Calvin sitting at his feet prominently displayed in the foyer of the rectory. Stuff like this happens so often now that I just turn a blind eye to it, and pray a lot. Life's too short to stress out about things like this. God will eventually sort out the whole mess anyway.

An Episcopal church I once attended allowed seeing-eye-dog trainees into the eucharist. I don't think I have a problem with that, although I never gave it any great depth of thought. Given the current proclivity in said church for "open communion," however, I'd now be afraid the they might allow the dog to partake of the Body and Blood. Theological issues aside, I wouldn't want to be the next guy to drink from the cup.

The same church used to regularly have a small group of turkeys walk up to the front door of the sanctuary. I always wanted to get a picture of a turkey in the doorway; I would have posted it as "The Bishop's Visit."

I agree that working dogs should be allowed, but I'm not sure why a working dog would need to be in the sanctuary, unless the lectors sit there and the lector is blind. But, working dogs 1) tend to have harnesses and often large signage indicating they are working dogs; 2) working dogs tend to be of certain breeds; it is very rare that a mutt such as this one is trained as a working dog; 3) working dogs tend to remain close to their owners, this one is alone smack dab in the middle of the sanctuary.

I just don't see a reason for a non-working dog in the sanctuary like this. (As others have pointed out blessing of animals is a separate case.)

Actually, the dog looks more alert than the priest in the chair who looks like he's gripping the side of the chair to keep from falling over when he totally enters slimberland.


I once had a pastor whose dog sat in on daily Masses held in a small chapel on parish grounds. When questioned about the appropriateness of this practice, the priest quipped that it was permitted under the encyclical, "Caninus Attendus."

seeing eye dog??
The priest on the left appears to be blind.

seeing eye dog??
The priest on the left appears to be blind.

Oh look a doggie...

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John Schultz

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This page contains a single entry by John Schultz published on July 22, 2006 6:31 AM.

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