Why can Catholics eat fish but not meat on Good Friday? What's the general rule?


#1

I asked this in AAA, but thought I might also post here for some general opinion… a Baptist friend of mine was curious about this.

On Good Friday, most Catholics must abstain from eating meat - but they are allowed to eat fish. What makes fish any different? Are Catholics also allowed to eat, say, insects, frogs, or reptiles that day? What about animals like whales (they are mammals, not really fish…)? Just wondering what the general rule is, or why fish are excluded from the abstaining from meat.


#2

[quote=Flopfoot]I asked this in AAA, but thought I might also post here for some general opinion… a Baptist friend of mine was curious about this.

On Good Friday, most Catholics must abstain from eating meat - but they are allowed to eat fish. What makes fish any different? Are Catholics also allowed to eat, say, insects, frogs, or reptiles that day? What about animals like whales (they are mammals, not really fish…)? Just wondering what the general rule is, or why fish are excluded from the abstaining from meat.
[/quote]

The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.

As to why fish is permitted…I don’t know. Personally, I have always thought it is because I loath Fish. :smiley:


#3

Two major reasons:

  1. Because for most of the history of Christendom, meat was a rather expensive treat, eaten on Sundays, for celebrations and special occasions. In contrast, shellfish and fish were basically free and available to anyone who picked them up off the rocks or baited a hook.

  2. Because Christ sacrificed His flesh on Good Friday, we abstain from eating flesh.

I think that aquatic mammals may be considered “fish” rather than “meat” for this purpose.


#4

Actually it is not a requirement to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. You are allowed to eat meat on Fridays. The requirement is that some from of penance is undertaken, of which abstaining is one choice.

See CCC 1438:

“The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’spenitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works)”.


#5

[quote=thistle]Actually it is not a requirement to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. You are allowed to eat meat on Fridays. The requirement is that some from of penance is undertaken, of which abstaining is one choice.

See CCC 1438:

“The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’spenitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works)”.
[/quote]

That is true for most Fridays…But not Good Friday.


#6

[quote=maggieodae]That is true for most Fridays…But not Good Friday.
[/quote]

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are not days of abstinance. They are days of fasting which is different.


#7

[quote=thistle]Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are not days of abstinance. They are days of fasting which is different.
[/quote]

Yes. Just making sure we did not confuse the poster, as his Q. was about Good Friday. :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=maggieodae]Yes. Just making sure we did not confuse the poster, as his Q. was about Good Friday. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Sorry. You are right. I must clean my glasses. I thought it was about Fridays. Anyway between the two of us we’ve covered it.


#9

[quote=thistle]Sorry. You are right. I must clean my glasses. I thought it was about Fridays. Anyway between the two of us we’ve covered it.
[/quote]

We done good! :thumbsup:


#10

[quote=thistle]Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are not days of abstinance. They are days of fasting which is different.
[/quote]

Um, yes they are days of abstinence. They are days of abstinence *and *fasting.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

tee


#11

[quote=maggieodae]As to why fish is permitted…I don’t know. Personally, I have always thought it is because I loath Fish. :smiley:
[/quote]

I figure we allowed fish but not meat on Fridays during Lent because our first Pope was in the fishing buisiness.:wink:


#12

[quote=gardenswithkids]I figure we allowed fish but not meat on Fridays during Lent because our first Pope was in the fishing buisiness.:wink:
[/quote]

Good Point! Boy! I sure wish he would have been a Butcher… :rotfl:


#13

My understanding is that we can not eat any animals which would require us to spill blood as we are to contemplate the blood that Jesus spilled on that precious Friday instead.

Furthermore, the hunting and preparation of warm blooded animals would require far more work than the eating of cold fish. The time could instead be used for almsgiving, prayer, etc.

Lastly, fasting and abstinence at one time meant no fish, meat, eggs, olive oil, and more. The west has abbreviated this to allow all but meat (in other words, all but blood). The east continues with the original tradition.

The early church took on its fasting and abstinence regimen from Judaism, so this tradition is much older than Christ. However, to set themselves apart, Christians chose the days Wednesday (Judas’ betrayal) and Friday (Christ’s death) as days of fasting and abstinence.

Here is something I found online:
The purpose of fasting is not to “give up” things, nor to do something “sacrificial.” The purpose of fasting is to learn discipline, to gain control of those things that are indeed within our control but that we so often allow to control us. In our culture especially, food dominates the lives of many people. We collect cookbooks. We have an entire TV network devoted to food [the “Food Channel”]. We have eating disorders, diets galore, weight loss pills, liposuction treatments, stomach stapling – all sorts of things that proceed out of the fact that we often allow food, which in an of itself cannot possible control us, to control us. We fast in order to gain control, to discipline ourselves, to gain control of those things that we have allowed to get out of control. Giving up candy – unless one is controlled by candy – is not fasting. It is giving up candy, or it is done with the idea that we fast in order to suffer. But we do not fast in order to suffer. We fast in order to get a grip on our lives and to regain control of those things that have gotten out of control. Further, as we sing during the first week of Great Lent, “while fasting from food, let us also fast from our passions.”


#14

Here is the official Church position on abstinence. Note that the broth of meat is not prohibited on days of abstinence.

Abstinence: The law of abstinence forbids the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products, nor condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat. Forbidden are the flesh meat of warm blooded animals and all parts of such animals. This does not include meat juices, broths, soups, lards, gravies, sauces, animal fats, and liquid foods made from meat. Also allowed are fish and all such cold-blooded animals such as frogs, shell-fish, clams, turtles, oysters, crabs, and lobsters. All those who have completed their fourteenth year are bound to the law of abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Friday’s of Lent.

The difference between fish & meat is the cold/warm blooded distinction. Frogs are “legal.” Don’t know about bugs, but frankly, that does not present a problem to me. :eek:


#15

It used to be that we couldn’t eat meat on any Friday, all year long. Then it was changed to the Fridays of Lent (although the faithful are supposed to do other acts of penance on non-Lent Fridays if they’re going to eat meat). On Good Friday, as well as Ash Wednesday, we don’t eat meat and we have to fast, which means only one full meal on those days. We are allowed to take two smaller meals, as long as they together don’t amount to a big full meal. No eating between meals.


#16

[quote=Flopfoot]I asked this in AAA, but thought I might also post here for some general opinion… a Baptist friend of mine was curious about this.

On Good Friday, most Catholics must abstain from eating meat - but they are allowed to eat fish. What makes fish any different? Are Catholics also allowed to eat, say, insects, frogs, or reptiles that day? What about animals like whales (they are mammals, not really fish…)? Just wondering what the general rule is, or why fish are excluded from the abstaining from meat.
[/quote]

Actually, the point is to abstain from something that is a hardship to do without and to not endulge in luxeries… in a nut shell anyhow. Some places are not allowed to eat fish either.


Bugs are okay. Locust was a common food item in fact for many of the disciples.


#17

This was provided at my parish last Lent. Perhaps you might find this comforting, challenging, helpful…

:o

Fasting and Feasting for Lent

Through the grace of Jesus our Lord we try to let go, to die to what is not of Jesus in us during Lent. We look forward to renewing our Baptismal Promises at Easter when we will share more fully in the life of the Risen Christ in us.

Fast from judging others.
Feast on seeing Christ.

Fast from seeing differences.
Feast on unity.

Fast from the darkness of sin.
Feast on the light of Christ.

Fast from illness.
Feast on the healing of God.

Fast from words that tear down.
Feast on words that heal.

Fast from discontent.
Feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger.
Feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism.
Feast on optimism.

Fast from worry.
Feast on trust.

Fast from complaining.
Feast on appeciation.

Fast from being negative.
Feast on thinking positive.

Fast from hostility.
Feast on peace.

Fast from bitterness.
Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-centeredness.
Feast on compassion.

Fast from anxiety.
Feast on trust.

Fast from discouragement.
Feast on hope.

Fast from tearing down.
Feast on building up.

Fast from thoughts that depress.
Feast on hope.

Fast from feeling overwhelmed.
Feast on peacefulness.

Fast from judging others.
Feast on kindness.

Fast from possessions.
Feast on simplicity.

Fast from talking.
Feast on listening.

Fast from sadness.
Feast on joy.

Fast from helplessness.
Feast on taking action.

Fast from independence.
Feast on accepting help.

Fast from rush and noise.
Feast on solitude.


Oh Lord, change our stony hearts to hearts of love!
– Ezekiel 36:26


#18

This was provided at my parish last Lent. Perhaps you might find this comforting, challenging, helpful…

:o

Fasting and Feasting for Lent

Through the grace of Jesus our Lord we try to let go, to die to what is not of Jesus in us during Lent. We look forward to renewing our Baptismal Promises at Easter when we will share more fully in the life of the Risen Christ in us.

Fast from judging others.
Feast on seeing Christ.

Fast from seeing differences.
Feast on unity.

Fast from the darkness of sin.
Feast on the light of Christ.

Fast from illness.
Feast on the healing of God.

Fast from words that tear down.
Feast on words that heal.

Fast from discontent.
Feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger.
Feast on patience.

Fast from pessimism.
Feast on optimism.

Fast from worry.
Feast on trust.

Fast from complaining.
Feast on appeciation.

Fast from being negative.
Feast on thinking positive.

Fast from hostility.
Feast on peace.

Fast from bitterness.
Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from self-centeredness.
Feast on compassion.

Fast from anxiety.
Feast on trust.

Fast from discouragement.
Feast on hope.

Fast from tearing down.
Feast on building up.

Fast from thoughts that depress.
Feast on hope.

Fast from feeling overwhelmed.
Feast on peacefulness.

Fast from judging others.
Feast on kindness.

Fast from possessions.
Feast on simplicity.

Fast from talking.
Feast on listening.

Fast from sadness.
Feast on joy.

Fast from helplessness.
Feast on taking action.

Fast from independence.
Feast on accepting help.

Fast from rush and noise.
Feast on solitude.


Oh Lord, change our stony hearts to hearts of love!
– Ezekiel 36:26


#19

[quote=Rob’s Wife]Actually, the point is to abstain from something that is a hardship to do without and to not endulge in luxeries… in a nut shell anyhow. Some places are not allowed to eat fish either.
[/quote]

Which places? I’ve never heard this before. (Unless you mean a few very strict monasteries).

Bugs are okay. Locust was a common food item in fact for many of the disciples.

Some scholars believe the “locusts” which St John the Baptist ate in the wilderness were in fact the fruit of the carob tree, which is sold today in the West as a caffeine-free substitute for chocolate. I don’t know of any record of any other disciple eating locusts.

I have nothing against eating Australian “bugs” (marine crustaceans) but I wouldn’t eat them on Good Friday as they’re a special treat and I don’t think it would be in the spirit of the day to eat them.


#20

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