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Friday, November 6, 2009

Nature-loving fathers

Priests spend so much time tending to their flocks, but that doesn't mean they don't enjoy getting a chance for recreation. For some, that means spending time in the great outdoors hunting and fishing.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has a profile of a priest, Father Christopher Wenthe of Delano, Minn., who enjoys hunting deer, as well as fishing. Father Wenthe told the newspaper his primary enjoyment is being in the great outdoors, but he also enjoys the challenge of finding his game.

As to the naysayers who oppose hunting, Father Wenthe has this response: Intellectually, obviously, we don't need to hunt. But what does that mean, exactly? We need to eat. Not necessarily animals that we hunt; we obviously don't need to eat those exclusively. But if it's wrong to eat any kind of animal, it would be wrong to hunt. And except for a minority of people who believe it wrong to eat animals, there seems through history not to be an objection." (Click HERE to read entire story.)

Father Wenthe is certainly not the only man of the cloth who is adept at handling a shotgun or fishing rod. In fact, Father Joseph Classen, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Mo., has written about his love of the outdoors — and how it has helped him recognize God in the abundance of nature — in books such as "Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord" and "Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice." (Click HERE to learn more about his books.)

"Having a fishing rod, a walking stick, or a gun/bow in hand is simply a doorway to the true refreshment that comes from being immersed in the beauty of God's creation," Father Classen writes in "Hunting for God, Fishing for the Lord." "While catching a ice fish or harvesting that big ol' buck is icing on the cake, there are still many lessons one learns while trying to eat that cake."

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