Until now, the Catholic Church’s position on animals has been that they do not have souls. This means that when they die, they simply stop existing.
This theological position has been troubling to a lot of animal lovers, who fear that heaven will not really be paradise without their beloved pets. However, this position has always been somewhat informal, and hasn’t been encoded in the formal doctrine of the Church.
Recently, Pope Francis talked with a boy who was very sad after the death of his best friend, a dog. The Pope reassured the boy, and told him it was ok because yes, animals can and do go to heaven, and one day, the boy and his dog would be re-united in heaven.
He told the boy “one day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ,” and “paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”