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The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Why can’t I have my dog in my wedding?

Neela Kale Answers:

If your dog is a service dog and you or another member of your wedding party depend on it in order to participate in the liturgy, then you should be able to include the dog. You can even put a bow on its collar if Fido will tolerate it! But you can’t have a pet in your wedding for any other purpose. Liturgy, by definition, is the work of the people – it is the way that we come together to celebrate who we are and glimpse who we are called to become as the people of God. Even though pets are increasingly accepted in public places in the United States and some people think of their animals as members of their families, pets are not, in fact, people. Animals are a beautiful part of God’s creation, to be sure, but only humans are made in the image and likeness of God. Only humans have the privilege and the obligation to praise God by participating in the liturgy. Unless the dog’s role is to facilitate the participation of a person, it does not belong in church, no matter how special it is to you.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • disqus_vI1UnBwhKt

    Do you wear cotton/polyester blends? Do you spend time with friends or family no matter what *day of the month* it is? Are you a vegetarian? Do you shave?
    At the end of the day, people should be driven by love: love of God, and love of others. Getting caught up in the ridiculousness of what is written in this blog post seems so very sad.
    Stop focusing on stuff that doesn’t matter. Start focusing on love. When you’re doing that perfectly, then start to care about this other stuff.
    … and people wonder why more and more people “believe in God but definitely not organised religion”….

  • Diane

    I agree with Anita. Animals are creatures of God. My dogs show unconditional love – just as God shows us unconditional love. Humans can learn from this.

  • Anita Norman

    Totally disagree with you on that one. I’m a lifelong follower of Jesus Christ and a church organist who has played for 200+ weddings. While I personally would never involve my dog in a church service of any kind, to say that he should be banned because he can’t praise God by participating in the liturgy is ridiculous and unfounded in scripture. On what basis, then, should it be deemed permissible to invite militant atheists, who we know will not only not be participating in the liturgy or worshipping God with us, but will most likely be silently laughing at their perceptions of how ridiculous the liturgical elements are to begin with?

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