A plan to house pet cremations under a San Francisco church has sparked a theological debate about souls, sacred spaces, and the meaning of St. Francis, the Los Angeles Times reports. The notion didn't seem odd to church friars—after all, the church is named after St. Francis, patron saint of animals, and hundreds of pet owners come twice a year to have their animals blessed. But cremation urns in a stair nook? That crossed the line for some.
"No scholar I know, nor myself, a street scholar on Saint Francis, see any causal connection between Saint Francis and dead animals," wrote a former city supervisor. Others note that under Church doctrine, animals cannot be saved because they are incapable of sin and don't go to heaven or hell. But church rector Father Harold Snider is standing firm: "You could hand gold bars out in the middle of the street and someone would complain that you were blocking traffic," he says. "You've just got to roll with it."