Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/7/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Stephensville, WI, has not commented on pig wrestling event despite public controversy.

An incredible commotion is brewing around a parish church in Stephensville, Wisconsin where activists have targeted a 44-year-old event that they say is cruel to animals. St. Patrick's Church holds an annual pig wrestling event were pigs are allegedly wrestled and placed into a bucket.

It is very likely this is a distressing event for the animal and while it may have been viewed favorably in the past, such activities are increasingly frowned upon today. The lack of statement from the parish is disconcerting. (Image via Jordan Turner.)

It is very likely this is a distressing event for the animal and while it may have been viewed favorably in the past, such activities are increasingly frowned upon today. The lack of statement from the parish is disconcerting. (Image via Jordan Turner.)

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/7/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: St. Patrick's, Stephensville, Wisconsin, pig wrestling


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Patrick's parish church in Stephensville, WI has become the target of animal activists over an annual pig wrestling event which has been held for 44 years. The event has come to the attention of activists who claim the event is cruel to animals and inconsistent with Christian values.

The event is planned for this weekend, and it involves a muddy fenced pen, into which several wrestlers may enter to face off against a chosen pig. According to the local NBC affiliate, which interviewed event organizer, Glenn Handel, "Anywhere from two to five or six people will get into the ring. We'll size a hog accordingly."

Save Iraqi Christians from genocide. Act now.

Catholic Online wanted to reach out to the parish for comment by calling the parish office, however an initial call was immediately disconnected and subsequent calls were to a busy line. The parish priest, who must be fully aware of the controversy, has reportedly dodged all requests for comment at a time when comment and leadership are critical.

Other contacts we have networked with on the story report similar results.

This is unacceptable behavior for a parish priest. Period.

The brief comments made by Handel and shared via a local report are insufficient and do not explain the Church's position on this issue.

Regardless of the legal nature of the activity, or the moral implications, the fact that this has created such a public controversy is a leadership moment for the priest and the diocese. Why not accept questions or issue a statement?

Catholic Online also contacted the office of the diocese of Green Bay and left a voicemail message with their department of communications requesting a statement.

Our questions include:

What does the event fund or support?

How does it work?

What happens to the animals?

Has a participant, or animal ever been injured?

Another question, one which will probably go unanswered, why is the parish being singled out for an event that happens regularly across the country at county fairs and other public venues?

An answer to these questions, as well as a brief discussion of how this event fits into overall Catholic instruction, is an opportunity for the Church to demonstrate moral leadership. A non-statement simply makes the parish appear as if it is shirking its responsibility to the public, which has legitimate questions.

Catholic moral teaching on the subject may be narrow, although there may be additional instruction on the issue of which we have not been informed (comments are welcome).

There is no clear teaching on the issue of animal cruelty, or how animals should be treated in general. Certainly Pope Francis has critiqued the decision of some people to keep pets rather than children. So what is clear is that humans outrank animals in the order of things, but this is not to say that animal abuse should be tolerated.

Although animals do not have rights as humans do, cruelty to animals should be avoided, especially when it is senseless. The 19th century Catholic theologian, Cardinal Tommaso Zigliara explained, "When, therefore, man, with no reasonable purpose, treats the brute cruelly he does wrong, not because he violates the right of the brute, but because his action conflicts with the order and the design of the Creator (Philosophia Moralis, 9th ed., Rome, p. 136 - via New Advent)."

Medieval theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas previously expressed concern that people who treat animals cruelly would be more inclined to do the same to humans.

Without a statement from the parish, it is difficult to fully assess the event and its moral implications, however the complete silence on the issue via the parish priest is worthy of criticism, even if the event were fully consistent with the law and Catholic moral instruction.

It must be noted that the essence of such an event --what makes an event entertaining for the public, is the distress that the animal feels at being pursued and manhandled into a bucket. Although the event has been enjoyed for 44 years, this is not justification that it is without cruelty.

Something about this screenshot doesn

Something about this screenshot doesn't feel right.


Presently, Jordan Turner, President of Global Conservation Group Inc., has urged the public to sign a petition against the event which has over 8,000 signatures. The petition suggests that such an event in inconsistent with Christian values and ethics. His organization is asking the church to find more humane activities that don't involve harming animals.

Turner explained in an Examiner.com article that the event may violate Wisconsin's law against cruelty to animals and that, "pigs are punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, jumped on, yelled at and thrown into a bucket."

Unfortunately, it is impossible, from a Catholic perspective to fully evaluate the activity without more information, particularly from those involved in it. Of course what the pigs face this weekend may not be much worse than what we subject pigs to on a regular basis, given their use in our diet, which many also claim is a use fraught with cruelty. Given this likely fact, is the St. Patrick's event that much worse?

Well, one answer is to say that one cruelty never justifies another.

Catholic Online is still awaiting responses from the Diocese of Green Bay as well as St. Patrick's parish. We will update you when those responses arrive.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2016
Universal:
Human Solidarity: That the aged, marginalized, and those who have no one may find–even within the huge cities of the world–opportunities for encounter and solidarity.
Evangelization: Seminarians and Novices: That seminarians and men and women entering religious life may have mentors who live the joy of the Gospel and prepare them wisely for their mission.



Comments


More Green

Can you hear 'The Hum?' Only 2 percent of people can hear this mysterious sound (AUDIO) Watch

Image of Only 4 percent of the matter in the universe is directly observable.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Two people out of every hundred can hear it. It's a strange, low grade humming noise coming from the Earth itself. They can't get away from it, they can't make it stop. And nobody knows why it's there. The call it "the hum" and it is one of the planet's most enigmatic ... continue reading


Scientists found a 1,700 mile crack across the USA. Here's what you need to know Watch

Image of Quakes can happen almost anywhere.

By Tony Johnson (California Network)

Is America at risk for Great earthquakes spanning across the full United States?  "Cracks Across America", in Rift zones, may conceal large fracture type faults where scientists may not be able to identify where these hidden fractures may unleash catastrophic ... continue reading


Is The Big One going to strike California TOMORROW? Watch

Image of Is The Big One about to hit California?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With the latest data on the San Andreas fault, it feels certain that California is about to experience The Big One. (Like tomorrow!) But is that what the data really shows? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The world's most famous fault is the San Andreas. The ... continue reading


Potentially lethal heatwave grips Southwest as temperatures sizzle 25 degrees above summer normal Watch

Image of The extended heatwave is expected to shatter records, and could claim lives as the region withers.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A massive heat wave will envelop the American southwest this week, and into the foreseeable future, as California is warned to expect blackouts. The danger from this record breaking heatwave is extreme and people are urged to take precautions. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Have hackers disrupted volcano data for Pacific Northwest? Watch

Image of Why did the public lose access to critical public safety data?

By Tony Johnson (California Network)

Unexpectedly, on June 17, 2016, hundreds of seismographs that cover the State of Oregon and Washington, including the PNW volcanoes, became inaccessible[2] with no explanation.  All of these seismograph stations are under the management of the Pacific Northwest ... continue reading


SORRY DUDE! Great white sharks appear in massive numbers off California coast, beaches closed Watch

Image of Look Ma! No cavities!

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Californians love their beaches, and few things can keep them out of the water, especially in the summer. Unfortunately, one of those things is appearing in greater numbers -sharks. And not just any sharks, but great whites. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The ... continue reading


Is the public being put in dark about Mt. St. Helens and other volcanoes as danger grows? Public now cut off from critical data Watch

Image of Why is information being kept from the public?

By Tony Johnson (California Network)

Just as spectrograph activity of volcanoes Rainier, Baker, Newberry, Three Sisters, and Crater Lake in the Pacific Northwest began to increase on June 13, 2016, the website HTML display code was changed to blank any public viewing of the data.  This raises a ... continue reading


Mystery of milky-white Kalama River may be solved Watch

Image of The Kalama River turned milky-white in 2015. The cause has remained a mystery until now.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Independent testing found a milky white substance colored the Kalama River just after a long lasting deluge engulfed Mt. St. Helens in October 2015. Unlike the milky coloring change of the Kalama River in 1980, and 2004, this time Mt. St. Helens remained quiet. What ... continue reading


Iceland discovers way to trap CO2, could save the world from global warming Watch

Image of Scientists in Iceland have found a way to turn CO2 into rock.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Scientists in Iceland have found a way to save the world from carbon dioxide by converting the compound into rocks that can be buried deep underground. If the process can be made inexpensive, it could be a tool we use in the fight against global warming. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


Why does the Kalama River turn white? Scientists can't explain this one weird thing that happens before Mt. St. Helens erupts - but here's a possible answer (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of First the Kalama River runs white, then Mt. St. Helens erupts.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Geologists are curious to see if a peculiar precursor to a Mt. St. Helens eruption occurs again. According to local observations, the Kalama River turns milky just before the volcano erupts. This phenomenon was observed in 1980, 2004, and in 2015 and has no confirmed ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Bernardino Realino: Saint of the Day for Saturday, July 02, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, July 02, 2016
  • Psalm for the Sick HD Video
  • America has become craven, that's why Satan is winning
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 HD Video
  • Our National Independence Requires Our Dependence On God
  • The Vindication of Governor Bob McDonnell, Persevering Faith and the ...

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Amos 8:4-6, 9-12
4 Listen to this, you who crush the needy and reduce the oppressed to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 119:2, 10, 20, 30, 40, 131
2 Blessed are those who observe his instructions, who seek him with all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:9-13
9 As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 1st, 2016 Image

St. Junipero Serra
July 1: Miguel Jose Serra was born on the island of ... Read More