why do we not eat meat during lent

You know you are in a Catholic townPwhen,PonlyPduring Lent, every single restaurant advertises one item on their menu: fish! I have even noticed how major fast-food chains point out on their fliers the date of Ash Wednesday! Suddenly everyone cares about the liturgical seasons of the Church! So why is it that the Church instructs Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays (as well as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), but gives the thumbs-up Pfor Catholics to eat fish? Sounds fishy to me! First of all we must ask the question, why Friday? The
Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church. Since it is believed Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross on a Friday, Christians from the very beginning have set aside that day to unite their sufferings to Jesus. PThis led the Church to recognize every Friday as a Good Friday where ChristiansPcan remember Christ s passion by offering up a specific type of penance. For much of the Church s history meat was singled out as a worthy sacrifice on account of its association with feasts and celebrations. In most ancient cultures meat was considered a delicacy and the fattened calf was not slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate. Since Fridays were thought of as a day of penance and mortification, eating meat on a Friday to celebrate the death of Christ didn t seem right. P(As an aside, when Saint Patrick s Day falls on a Friday during Lent, as it is considered a solemnity for many Irish Catholics. ) Read more:P But why is fish not considered meat? According to the, the laws of the Church classify the abstinence from land animals. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Fish, on the other hand, are not in that same classification.


Fish are a different category of animal. P Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted. In Latin the word used to describe what kind of meat is not permitted on Fridays isP carnis,P and specifically relates to animal flesh Pand never included fish as part of the definition. Additionally, fish in these cultures was not considered a celebratory meal and was more of a penance to eat. Our current culture is much different asPmeat is generally considered the cheaper option on the menu andPno longer has the cultural connection to celebrations. This is why many people are confused about the regulations, especially those who love to eat fish and do not consider it a penance. In the end, the Church s intention is to encourage the faithful to offer up a sacrifice to God that comes from the heart and unites one s suffering to that of Christ on the cross. Meat is given as the very basic penance, while the purpose of the regulation should always be kept in mind. For example, it does not necessarily give a person the license to eat a lobster dinner every Friday in Lent. The whole point is to make a sacrifice that draws a person closer to Christ, who out of love for us made the ultimate sacrifice a person can make. Just for fun: here is a to show youPwhat not to cook during those Fridays of Lent The past six Fridays, Catholics observing Lent have skipped sirloin in favor of fish sticks. Why? Legend has it that, centuries ago, a medieval pope with connections to Europes fishing business banned red meat on Fridays to give the industry a boost. That story isnt true. Sunday school teachers have a more theological answer: Jesus fasted for 40 days and died on a Friday. Catholics honor both occasions by making a small sacrifice: avoiding animal flesh one day out of the week. That explanation is dandy for a homily, but it doesnt explain why red meat and poultry are targetedand why its perfectly okay to eat seafood.


For centuries, the reason evolved with the fast. In the beginning, some worshippers only ate bread. But by the Middle Ages, they were avoiding meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 13th century, the meat-fish divide was firmly establishedand Saint Thomas Aquinas gave a lovely answer explaining why: sex, simplicity, and farts. In Part II of his, Aquinas wrote: Fasting was instituted by the Church in order to bridle the concupiscences of the flesh, which regard pleasures of touch in connection with food and sex. Wherefore the Church forbade those who fast to partake of those foods which both afford most pleasure to the palate, and besides are a very great incentive to lust. Such are the flesh of animals that take their rest on the earth, and of those that breathe the air and their products. Put differently, Aquinas thought fellow Catholics should abstain from eating land-locked animals because they were too darn tasty. Lent was a time for simplicity, and he suggested that everyone tone it down. It makes sense. In the 1200s, meat was a luxury. Eating something as decadent as beef was no way to celebrate a holiday centered on modesty. But Aquinas had another reason, too: He believed meat made you horny. For, since such like animals are more like man in body, they afford greater pleasure as food, and greater nourishment to the human body, so that from their consumption there results a greater surplus available for seminal matter, which when abundant becomes a great incentive to lust. Hence the Church has bidden those who fast to abstain especially from these foods. There you have it. You can now blame those impure thoughts on a beef patty. (Aquinas might have had it backwards. According to the American Dietetic Association, red meat doesnt boost seminal matter. Men trying to increase their sperm count are generally advised to on meat. However, red meat does improve, so its give-and-take. ) Aquinas gave a third reason to avoid meatit wont give you gas. Those who fast, Aquinas wrote, are forbidden the use of flesh meat rather than of wine or vegetables, which are flatulent foods.


Aquinas argued that flatulent foods gave your vital spirit a quick pick-me-up. Meat, on the other hand, boosts the bodys long-lasting, lustful a religious no-no. But why isnt fish considered meat? The reason is foggy. Saint Pauls first letter to the Corinthians, for one, has been used to justify fasting rules. Paul wrote, There is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fish, and another of birds (15:39). That distinction was possibly taken from Judaisms own dietary restrictions, which separates fleishig (which includes land-locked mammals and fowl) from pareve (which includes fish). Neither the Torah, Talmud, or New Testament clearly explains the rationale behind the divide. Its arbitrary, anyway. In the 17th century, the Bishop of Quebec ruled that. In Latin America, its okay to eat capybaraapparently on Lenten Fridays. Churchgoers around Detroit can guiltlessly munch on every Friday. And in 2010, the Archbishop of New Orleans gave alligator the thumbs up when he declared, . Thanks to King Henry VIII and Martin Luther, Protestants dont have to worry about their diet. When Henry ruled, fish was one of Englands most popular dishes. But when the Church refused to grant the King a divorce, he broke from the Church. Consuming fish became a pro-Catholic political statement. Anglicans and the Kings sympathizers made it a point to eat meat on Fridays. Around that same time, Martin Luther declared that fasting was up to the individual, not the Church. Those attitudes hurt Englands fishing industry so much that, in 1547, Henrys son King Edward VIwho was just 10 at the timetried to reinstate the fast to improve the countrys fishing economy. Some Anglicans picked the practice back up, but Protestantswho were strongest in Continental Europedidnt need to take the bait.

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why do you not eat meat on fridays in lent
why do you not eat meat on fridays during lent
why do you not eat meat during lent
why do we not eat meat on fridays during lent
why do we not eat meat on friday during lent
why do we not eat meat during lent
why do we not eat meat on friday during lent