WASHINGTON — A new book by Christian author Father Jack Wintz explores the place of animals in Christianity.
In Will I See My Dog in Heaven? Father Wintz, a Franciscan friar, explores whether God’s plan for salvation includes creatures other than humans.
The question in the title of his book “sounds like a naive kid’s question,” Father Wintz said in an interview with Catholic News Service June 13, “but I think it fits in this broader context (of the question of salvation for all creation.)”
Father Wintz said his motivation to write the book stemmed largely from his experience as a Franciscan.
“I have a great fascination for St. Francis of Assisi, especially his great love and respect for animals as well as for trees, rivers, wild flowers and creation as a whole,” he stated.
Throughout the book’s 10 chapters, Father Wintz utilizes evidence from Scripture, the works of St. Francis of Assisi and Judeo-Christian tradition to make the case that God intends to save all of creation, including beloved pets.
The evidence includes some familiar stories such as that of Noah, as well as less familiar works like St. Francis’ “Canticle of Brother Sun,” a song of praise in which St. Francis refers to all of creation as brothers and sisters of man.
While Father Wintz believes that there is strong evidence to indicate that all of creation is included in God’s plan for salvation, he acknowledges that Christians are divided on the issue.
“It’s true that we know little detail about (heaven) or how animals and other creatures will be included in the picture,” he stated.
While Will I See My Dog in Heaven? includes a substantial amount of theological analysis, Father Wintz said the book also includes several stories and is “for a wide, popular audience.”
“A lot of (the theology) is very simple,” said the priest, who was in Washington for a book signing at the Franciscan monastery.
Father Wintz is a longtime writer and editor for St. Anthony Messenger magazine, based in Cincinnati. Will I See My Dog in Heaven? was published by Paraclete Press.