Does Capybara Meat Break The Lenten Abstinence?

In Alaska, cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises) and pinnipeds (Seals,Walruses) generally do not break fast, since they are the primary protein for certain tribes.

On the other hand, some of the Eastern Catholic churches are far more strict; The Russian Catholics retain the “No meat, milk, nor eggs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of fasts” interpreting meat as anything with a spinal column as their Russian Orthodox brethren… thus barring also fish, etc.

Rocky I hope that anybody who is writing or editing a dictionary understands the importance of the proper use of the proper word. Or it may call into question the validity of the whole dictionary - as I believe it has. And thank goodness I don’t edit or write dictionaries.

Perhaps someone will pull up the Latin.

That key phrase “as understood in Church law” is important.

A living creature is defined as “meat” (carne, I believe) for purposes of fasting in the Latin Church because it is understood to be meat by Latin Church law ***not ***because it is classified as such by scientists or “common sense”. Some aquatic and semi-aquatic animals have been classified as “fish” by Church law even though it may not make scientific sense to have done so.

Anyone is entitled to be more strict with personal observance but no one should be scrupulous on behalf of another who choses to take Church law at its face value.

Here in Michigan, beaver and otter are permitted. It goes back to the days of the first Jesuit missionaries. The local Indian word for ‘fish’ included aquatic animals. Since Michigan was then under the Diocese of Montreal, permission was granted for the converted Indians to eat beaver and otter in addition to fish, since it was in keeping with their understanding of the word.

That indult was again granted when Michigan became it’s own diocese (well Detroit did) and hasn’t been revoked.

This could be wrong, but I recall hearing many years ago that a similar indult existed in Argentina (perhaps Uruguay also) regarding, of all things, beef. It seems to have had to do with the fact that beef was so common it was actually the food of the poor there. I’ve no idea if this is really true or, if so, if it still exists. Perhaps we have an Argentino in the house who could help clarify?

My dear Orthodox friends can’t have fish on fast days, because that is flesh, but they can have a sumptuous feast of shrimp and lobster, because technically those have been classified by their Church as “bugs.”

Capybaras are essentially large guinea pigs, and I’m told they breed as prolifically, so they would be a good source of cheap, self-replicating protein, just as fish would be in the middle East.

Well they certainly are closer to insects than to fish.

I disagree. I think that marine mammals as noted above would not qualify as carne in the Latin understanding. And I suspect that snake and lizard meat would.

[quote=thistle]Who eats dolphins?
[/quote]

From Wikipedia,

In some parts of the world such as Taiji in Japan and the Faroe Islands, dolphins are traditionally considered as food, and killed in harpoon or drive hunts.

They even have a picture of 40 or 50 dolphin laid out after a hunt in the Faeroe Islands.

While dolphins are not on the menu in Alaska, narwhales, orca, and beluga whales all are… and Orca are technically the largest dolphins, not true whales.

Tasty, too.

Yes, but do you get to eat them during Lent??

Only in the villages. But fresh whale is a treat.

(Walrus isn’t, IMO…)

It depends on if the local KofC has organized a Friday Dolphin Fry :cool:

The KofC don’t extend to the villages…
and the marine mammal exemption only applies in the villages.

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