Why can’t animals go to Heaven?

Answered by Father Ben Lehnertz, Holy Family Catholic Parish, Orlando, May 19, 2017.
Asked by Valeria, a 7th grade student at Holy Family Catholic School, Orlando.

In order to have a proper understanding of this question we need to understand what we mean when we talk about the “soul” of an animal and “heaven.”

Animals have souls, but not the same kind of souls that humans have. This is the same reason that one does not have his or her dog baptized, confirmed, or given Holy Communion.

We usually think of Heaven as being just a physical place of supreme and total happiness, but let’s remember that heaven is much more than that, it is beyond our imagination, [1 Cor 2:9]!  It is first of all the state of one’s soul being in perfect communion with God – the greatest joy possible. Human beings will enjoy the highest possible level of communion with God – even higher than the angels.

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Church is tells us that all of creation will be redeemed – animals, plants, and elements, too!  The whole universe!!!

To top it all off, Pope Francis said, “Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.”

Here are some references if you want to look some up.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) puts it this way in paragraphs 1042-1043:
“At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign forever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed… At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.” Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, “new heavens and a new earth.” [2 Pet 3:13)

For more information check out these great references!!!

Lumen Gentium (48), (from the Second Vatican Council); Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.]

(Rev 21:1] It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head “all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth.” [Eph 1:10]

Please notice that the Catechism offers many scriptural citations to help us understand why we believe what we believe.