Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fishy? I Think Not

I wish to express my appreciation to Bob Warr for allowing  me to  use his blog as a platform for my posts for an undetermined length of time.  Thanks, Bob.



Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not a theological treatise, nor is its intent to make fun of anyone’s practice of faith.

Fish on Friday

We protestants who lived north of the Arkansas River chided (read: made fun of) our Catholic friends who would drive south of the river on Fridays to partake of their evening meal, for there they felt free of conscience to eat red meat. It was widely believed that Catholics were to abstain from meat on Fridays as an integral part of the practice of their faith. Failure to do so made the offender a sinner in the eyes of fellow Catholics and a hypocrite in the eyes of the protestants.

The trip across the river had its roots in some medieval history. Because of their service in the Crusades, Pope Urban II granted a dispensation to Spanish counts allowing them relief from the meatless Friday rule. In 1571, Pope Pius V extended the dispensation to all lands under Spanish rule. Hence, Spain’s colonies in the New World were excepted.1 Even though Spain had long since lost her rule in the New World, and even through domination by various peoples, and right on into the twentieth century American world in which I lived, the observation continued in those geographical areas originally dominated by Spain. In the West, the northern boundary of Mexico was the Arkansas River, and hence the Catholics of Texas, New Mexico, and a portion of southern Colorado considered themselves under the dispensation of Pope Pius V.

In 1951, the faithful in the area were advised that indeed they should follow the practice of abstinence from meat on Fridays, along with the rest of the Catholic world. Much confusion exists to this day, and Catholics generally believe that to eat meat on Friday is not sinful, but that Friday should be a day of penance as clarified by the Holy See in 1966.2



Grace said...

When my father owned a deli he always put bacon bits (real ones) on the German potato salad. sometimes on Fridays he would forget and when reminded quickly fold them into the potatoes so they wouldn't show. Also on Fridays there was fresh, homemade clam chowder. which unbeknownst to all, had a base of beef's not that my father had anything against Catholics but food was more of a religion to him - (And I spent my Thursday afternoon and evenings making fish much fun when you are 14...)

Shelly said...

Our school cafeteria regularly pulls out the fish sticks for everyone each Friday during Lent.

vanilla said...

Grace. I can well imagine that fish cake manufacture was not the most appealing activity for a fourteen-year old girl. I bet that beef broth gave the chowder that something special!

Shelly, my last 21 years in school were spent in an almost evenly divided (Catholic/Protestant) community. You can believe the cafeteria served a fish dish on Fridays!

Lin said...

All the restaurants around here still offer Lenten specials. We abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, but that is pretty much all I do for my Lenten observance. Oh, and sometimes I give up cussing...but that never lasts long.

vanilla said...

Lin, did you ever consider giving up cussing for good? Maybe not. ;>)

Sharkbytes said...

Love your history stories that point out how silly some of our traditions are. We were not Catholic, but my dad loved seafood. We always had fish or its cousins on Fridays.

vanilla said...

Shark, I, too, enjoy seafood. Day of the week in which I consume it, not important.