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  #1  
Old Feb 9, '05, 11:00 pm
meuwzic meuwzic is offline
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Question What are the origins of meat abstinence?

I'm pretty sure I understand when we abstain but, why and when this started is my question. I was told by two friends, a "distant" Catholic and a Protestant, tonight that the "no meat thing" started as a commercial decision by the Pope to help out the Italian fishermen or some such nonsense. Any information or truth on this?
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  #2  
Old Feb 10, '05, 4:26 am
StratusRose StratusRose is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

That's actually true. We were talking about that in the RCIA class I help out in. The most important reason to abstain is to show God a sacrifice. Also, meat back in those days was very expensive. An underlying reason was to help the fishermen in Italy because they weren't doing so well.
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  #3  
Old Feb 10, '05, 4:36 am
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tee_eff_em tee_eff_em is offline
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Angry Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

meuwzic: Ask your "friends" for sources -- Nay, DEMAND sources.

StratusRose: If you have a source for this I'd like to see it.

(To no one in particular: "I read it on the internet" is not a source)

"put up or shut up",
tee
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Old Feb 10, '05, 5:30 am
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K-McD K-McD is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tee_eff_em
meuwzic: Ask your "friends" for sources -- Nay, DEMAND sources.

StratusRose: If you have a source for this I'd like to see it.

(To no one in particular: "I read it on the internet" is not a source)

"put up or shut up",
tee
Amen!
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  #5  
Old Feb 10, '05, 5:36 am
StratusRose StratusRose is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tee_eff_em
meuwzic: Ask your "friends" for sources -- Nay, DEMAND sources.

StratusRose: If you have a source for this I'd like to see it.

(To no one in particular: "I read it on the internet" is not a source)

"put up or shut up",
tee
What's up with the mean face? Why are you getting so upset over what I said?

If you want a source, ask my priest. He'll tell you, as well as Franciscan monk who backed him up. If you ask me, that's all the sources I need.
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Last edited by StratusRose; Feb 10, '05 at 5:50 am.
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  #6  
Old Feb 10, '05, 6:10 am
StratusRose StratusRose is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

http://www.fao.org/documents/show_cd...E/V8490E03.htm

Here's a credible source for you.

Fish consumption during the Middle Ages in Europe was promoted by the Catholic Church which ordered 166 days of fasting a year (including 40 days of strict fasting for Lent) during which fish could be eaten. This situation was usually reinforced by rulers; for instance, Charlemagne ordered that all his farms have fish ponds. Alternatively, the Reformation in England (involving changes in fasting) reduced the number of fishing vessels, severely affected freshwater fisheries (Montanari, 1993), and nearly abolished aquaculture (Kreuzer, 1974).

This source may not be as credible, but is a good read.
http://www.cliffordawright.com/history/med_fishing.html
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  #7  
Old Feb 10, '05, 6:17 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

the reason the discipline of fasting and abstinence was imposed in the early middle ages was not so much do discipline the poor, who were already doing penance just by virtue of the drudgery of their daily lives, but to discipline the rich and impose penance on the class that were the only ones to enjoy meat as a regular part of the diet. Bear in mind hunting was restricted to landowners, especially the barons and the crown, and poaching was a capital offense. Laws restricting fish in streams and rivers flowing through the landowners property came only after the Reformation (at least in Britain).

Pentitential practices originate in monastic life and only later were imposed on the laity, often when the either the ruler or bishop decided penance was necessary because of war, natural disaster or other problems. The days and seasons for fasting, and the types of food covered by abstinence varied over the seasons and became stabilized for the whole church in the 11th or 12 century (after the Eastern Schism, which is why the Orthodox follow still older regulations).
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  #8  
Old Feb 10, '05, 6:17 am
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cove cove is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meuwzic
I'm pretty sure I understand when we abstain but, why and when this started is my question. I was told by two friends, a "distant" Catholic and a Protestant, tonight that the "no meat thing" started as a commercial decision by the Pope to help out the Italian fishermen or some such nonsense. Any information or truth on this?
Here is a nice little article that might answer your question.

http://www.stthomasirondequoit.com/D...ench/id583.htm


The writer also mentions this "fish" story.
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  #9  
Old Feb 10, '05, 9:22 pm
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tee_eff_em tee_eff_em is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StratusRose
Um, that doesn't say what you said. To say that "fish consumption was promoted by dietary regulations" is quite different than saying "the pope propped up the fishing industry".
Quote:
Originally Posted by StratusRose
This source may not be as credible, but is a good read.
http://www.cliffordawright.com/history/med_fishing.html
Good read or no, the relevant bit doesn't even support this pope-as-market-manipulator stuff (emphasis added):

"However, fish had no overall importance in either the diet or the economy of medieval Sicily and the total number of fishermen was few. But the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand."

tee
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  #10  
Old Feb 11, '05, 4:27 am
StratusRose StratusRose is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tee_eff_em
Um, that doesn't say what you said. To say that "fish consumption was promoted by dietary regulations" is quite different than saying "the pope propped up the fishing industry".

Good read or no, the relevant bit doesn't even support this pope-as-market-manipulator stuff (emphasis added):

"However, fish had no overall importance in either the diet or the economy of medieval Sicily and the total number of fishermen was few. But the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand."

tee
No, you're right it doesn't say exactly what I said. However, the evidence the article brings up leads one to believe that the fish industry could have been crippled if the church had no allowed eating fish on Friday.

I was not trying to claim that the pope was a money making manipulator. There are many other reasons why we're allowed to eat fish, for example, fish is a cold-blooded animal, and those are allowed as opposed to warm-blooded animals. I think you misunderstood my first post, I wasn't pope-bashing. Even if that was one of his reasons for allowing fish on Friday, I think that's a good thing he did because he realized how much fishermen depended on the income. Like the article says "But the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand" You failed to highlight that.

I do not appreciate your condescending tone and lack of charity.
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  #11  
Old Feb 11, '05, 11:16 am
meuwzic meuwzic is offline
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Talking Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Dear Cove,

Thank you for the above article, http://www.stthomasirondequoit.com/DeaconBench/id583.htm
It in fact, mentions the legend that the Pope instilled meat abstinence to help local fishermen.


The article states, "You may have heard the story that the Friday abstinence was instituted as a sop to the Portuguese fishing industry. That's a cute little explanation, but it is more than a bit fanciful. Friday penitential practices began in the First Century, long before the Portuguese fishing industry had much of a lobby in the Church.", If the article is correct about when the Lenten practice of abstinence began, then it indeed discredits the "legend" that the Pope instituted the practice in order to "help" the fishermen Portuguese, Italian or otherwise.

The article StratusRose brought up...


http://www.cliffordawright.com/history/med_fishing.html



...mentions that the practice helped the Sicilian fishermen but it does not go so far as to say that it was instilled in order to help them. The article, about the Mediterranean food industry, states that, "... fish had no overall importance in either the diet or the economy of medieval Sicily and the total number of fishermen was few. But, the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand" In other words, despite the fact that fish had no overall importance in the diet or economy, at least during the already instituted times of abstinence fish would always be in demand.



Also in that same article is stated that the "fishing centers of Sicily in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (not the 1st century)...Fish were in seasonal demand and especially during Lent, when church mandated fasting requirements limited the amount of meat that could be eaten." The error in the article of using the word fasting rather than abstaining not-withstanding, it does not imply that these requirements came about "in order to" keep a seasonal demand for fish, rather the already "mandated" fasting requirements limited the amount of meat that could be eaten. This statement also brings up the point that this has never been a mandate to eat fish, RATHER, to abstainfrom” meat.



In the other article StratusRose was kind enough to offer up…



http://www.fao.org/documents/show_c...0E/V8490E03.htm

…it is stated that, “Fish consumption during the Middle Ages (again way after the 1st century) in Europe was promoted by the Catholic Church which ordered 166 days of fasting a year (including 40 days of strict fasting for Lent) during which fish could be eaten.” When taken in context of the article, it becomes apparent that the sentence is making a cause and effect argument. Because of the practice of abstaining from meat by Catholics especially durning Lent, the sales or “consumption” of fish was furthered or promoted. It does not say that in order to promote the consumption, the Church ordered the penitential practice. Remember, according to the first article, the practice of abstaining from meat had, by this time, been going on for quite a while. What is different during the Middle Ages is the amount of practicing Catholic and thereby the amount of people abstaining from meat. And, if the effect of these practices ended up helping fishermen, how sublime, as many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen and as we know they followed our Lord and became “Fishers of men.”



HOW DOES THAT SOUND? DOES IT MAKE SENSE? WERE THE NUMBERS OF CATHOLICS TRULY ON THE RISE IN THE MIDDLE AGES? I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I AM CORRECT BECAUSE, I PLAN TO TAKE THIS WITH ME TO THE NEXT GET-TOGETHER ALONG WITH COPIES OF ALL THREE ARTICLES. ALTHOUGH MY FRIENDS PROMISED TO BRING ME EVIDENCE FROM THE INTERNET, I DECIDED THAT I WOULD BEAT THEM TO IT!



Thank you, all for you help in this matter. Please let me know if you see any problems with my statements. I’m not very quick on my proverbial feet in an argument and I don’t want to set my-Catholic-self up again this Wednesday!

+Meuwzic
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Old Feb 12, '05, 6:55 pm
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tee_eff_em tee_eff_em is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StratusRose
I was not trying to claim that the pope was a money making manipulator. There are many other reasons why we're allowed to eat fish, for example, fish is a cold-blooded animal, and those are allowed as opposed to warm-blooded animals. I think you misunderstood my first post, I wasn't pope-bashing. Even if that was one of his reasons for allowing fish on Friday, I think that's a good thing he did because he realized how much fishermen depended on the income. Like the article says "But the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand" You failed to highlight that.

I do not appreciate your condescending tone and lack of charity.
It is my intent neither to be condescending nor uncharitable. If something I write can be taken two ways and one of them is less than charitable, I meant it the other way. It is my intent to defend the Church against her detractors (in this case, against meuwzic's interlocutors).

You did not mean to "pope-bash", but in your first post, you supported those who do ("That's actually true" you said of the pope-bashers' claim). Even if you mean, in the most charitable way, that the pope saw a need to assist poor fisherman, and went about it in the funny way of forbidding meat consumption (what about the poor herders?) rather than the more effective requiring of fish consumption, I believe my question is still both legitimate and charitable:

Which pope? Please be specific?

I honestly seek the knowledge, for as often as I've encountered this old saw, no one has ever provided the answer.

tee
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Old Feb 27, '09, 3:29 am
jymbalaya jymbalaya is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

If that story was true (The Pope coming up with the meat-less fasting requirement), why did this nameless Pope not require fish consumption? Anyone who has been to Italy knows fish is part of the standard diet anyway. Also, there is plenty of cheese, eggs etc. It stands to reason that if the Pope's (which Pope made this commercial decision??) decision was motivated by the fishing industry, he would have compelled fish consumption. Frankly, it sounds like a Protestant Reformation propaganda that has turned into urban legend. I'd like to see an actual historical source on the topic making claim (like a reference to an actual historical source). If you know one, please cite it. Would love to see it. If I remember my ancient medieval college professor discussing this query (who was a former Protestant agnostic), he suspected that claim as apocryphal. He apparently could not find a source and he'd pour over original sources in his work. Granted, his specialty was Classical Rome, Greece and Byzantium, not the Roman Catholic Church. Have a great LENT! Happy St. Patrick's and St Joseph's Days!
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Old Feb 27, '09, 5:29 am
stinkcat_14 stinkcat_14 is offline
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Default Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StratusRose View Post
Like the article says "But the fasting prescriptions of the church assured that fish would always be in demand"
This is an effect of the regulation is not necessarily the motivation of the regulation. Certainly, if a regulation prohibits certain food items, that will affect the demand for them. After all, why do the chinese restaurants in my area offer lenten specials? Because church regulations ban the eating of meat on friday. So chinese restaurants sell more fish on fridays during lent, but we can in no way say that the regulation was imposed in order to encourage chinese restaurants to sell more fish.
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Old Mar 9, '10, 7:08 pm
albertholder63 albertholder63 is offline
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Smile Re: What are the origins of meat abstinence?

In this rather long discussion, the word 'fasting' has been loosely used and misused. Abstinence refers to abstaining from certain foods during certain days. Fasting refers to reducing the amount of food eaten during a certain period of time. To say that the Church required its members to abstain from meat of warm-blooded animals does NOT mean that the Church required anyone to eat fish. There were various other sources of protein such as milk, eggs, legumes, and nuts. Hence, the argument that the Church commanded abstinence to support the fishing industry of Italy (or any other place) simply fails. The most convincing argument I have read so far was the statement that abstinence was imposed on the wealthy who had a regular diet of meat. Even so, where is the documentation for that argument?
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