Charles Camosy: Can a gorilla be a victim of Pope Francis’ ‘throw-away culture’?

(Crux) By now, the story is familiar to hundreds of millions of people all over the world. A young boy crawled over a barrier and fell 15 feet into the water of a gorilla enclosure at a Cincinnati zoo. One of the primates, Harambe, dragged the boy out of the water.

Eyewitnesses disagree about the level of danger to the boy, but the episode ended with the 17-year-old gorilla being shot and killed.

The story has gone viral for lots of reasons. Some focused on the responsibility of the parents. Some focused on the shoot-first mentality of the zoo security staff, when they believed Harambe was protecting the boy. And some can’t believe we are spending this much time talking about an animal.

Commonweal contributor Anthony Annette noted that something “is very seriously wrong” when we talk about animals rather than the hundreds of migrants dying in the Mediterranean. Catholic blogger Matt Walsh called the killing of the “jungle beast” a “happy ending,” and castigated a culture which prioritizes animals over babies killed in abortion.

Is this the right response? Especially in a Catholic context?

A lot depends on how we think about “moral status.” Morally-speaking, what is Harambe? [More]