The Vegan Catholic is a resource website dedicated to promoting love and compassion for all God's creatures.
I am a Jesuit Scholastic (seminarian) studying to be a Catholic priest. I grew up in Goa, India and moved to the US for graduate school. After working for a few years at a technology company in California, I discerned a call to religious life in 2016. I am currently studying Theology at Boston College.
I first thought about veganism when I was studying about the Problem of Evil as part of my philosophy studies at Saint Louis University. I wondered why humans were contributing to the already copious and 'unjustified' suffering in this world. Good, kind people did not seem to care about the suffering of animals. Could I consider myself a kind person if I willingly participated in causing unnecessary suffering of animals?
I managed to put aside those thoughts, and I continued with my life for a couple of years until one day a non Christian freshman named Amogh asked me how I, a person who follows Jesus, did not care about the suffering of animals. He pressed home the point by stating that I was a hypocrite who preached God's love and mercy while consuming animal based food products derived through horrific violence. We had a wonderful conversation for a half hour and then went our separate ways.
For the next few weeks, I continued to think about what Amogh had said. I tried to justify my meat and dairy consumption on health grounds. I thought that the human body needed animal based food products to be healthy. It was then I came across the documentary, The Game Changers, which spurred me to delve deeper into the nutritional aspect of veganism. To my surprise, I found that I could be perfectly healthy as a vegan if I ate a nutritious and balanced diet. I turned vegan in January 2021 and, through the grace of God, I have continued to enjoy good health physically, mentally and spiritually.
Over the years, I have continued educating myself about the philosophical, and theological aspects of veganism. I had thought that Catholicism allowed for violence to animals if it involved producing food for humans. However, my reading suggested otherwise. I could find no justification for the violence to animals if food for humans could be procured through nonviolent means. Why slaughter animals when you can eat beans?
Furthermore, I found there was very little discussion about compassion for farm animals in Catholic conversations. Instead, Catholics tend to view veganism as a leftist atheist agenda that intends to paint our faith in bad light. Eventually however, I found a few good books on the subject written from a Catholic standpoint, and I was able to form a philosophically consistent belief system that harmonized my discipleship of the Prince of Peace with my concern for all God's creatures. In fact, I believe that caring for all creatures is a necessary part of the Catholic faith.
I hope to spread an awareness that love and compassion for animals is part of The Way of Christ. For philosophical discussions on veganism and the Catholic faith, please read my essays in the Jesuit Post listed under the My Essays section.
Thank you for visiting this website. I hope you will accept this invitation to care for Clucky, the hen on some far away farm, as much as you care for Barky, your dog sitting in your lap.
May God bless you. 🙏
Daniel Mascarenhas, S.J.