Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Fish Façade

Today is Good Friday, the last time this Lenten Season Catholics will have the chance to impress God by ordering the Filet-O-Fish instead of the Big Mac.

My family didn't eat much seafood, so even though I was raised Catholic, I think my only adherence to the "fish on Fridays" rule was eating the fish sticks school provided at lunchtime.

Lent is a 40-day period denoting Jesus' 40 days wandering the desert before his crucixion and resurrection (Easter). And because of his suffering (bottled water and sunscreen had not yet been invented) and ultimate sacrifice, believers are asked to make sacrifices, too.

Lent is a noble idea, especially as it encourages some to give up smoking or other bad habits. But eating fish instead of meat on Fridays - what the hell kind of sacrifice is that?

First, fish is meat. Some can be forgiven (I guess) for not realizing this on their own, as even the dictionary is confused. (It says fish and fowl are not meat, and further down the same page says they are.)

Meat is animal flesh. Fish are animals, plain and simple. They're just "white meat" animals.

Second, giving up meat for a whole day a week is not exactly a sacrifice, is it? Come on, try a little harder, folks. Jesus faced the desert and the cross, and you think by using this little "fish is not meat" loophole that you're making a sacrifice? As if!

I've got a great suggestion for Lent for the church itself next year: Give up the bad habit of perpetuating your followers' ignorance about meat.

16 comments:

Aunty Belle said...

Bawgs--prety dang good stuff heah--yep. A little historical note to add to your fine thought: The Fish thang was meant partly as a symbol--the fish being the cryptic indicator for Christians in 1-3rd centuries when they was looking for whar mass was being said outa the eye of the Romans who loved to throw em' to the lions...and during 1800s in Europe, fish was seen as "poor" food as it was cheap compared to meat--we have the reverse today, fish is pricey, ain't it? Aunty needs a loan fer Joe's Stone Crabs!!

Meanwhile, US bishops long ago adopted yer idea, Bawgs, and they tole folks to make some sort of personal weekly Friday sacrifice during the year since lobster and scampi didn't qualify as suffering none a'tall. BUT not during Lent, as Good Friday is not only a day of abstainin' from meat, but it is a day of fasting too.

Anonymous said...

hallo bogshond!

ik denk Lenten siezion is to stop whatever maak a space tussen een persoon met God - not only symbol. idee is to give up what maak you less of what you intended to be by creator. to remain somehow in truth and gootness. as best you can, no? bogshond, you be goot okay?

vaarwell voor nu,
freya

ardlair said...

I thought Easter was originally a non christian celebration named after Eostra, some ancient goddess of something or other. Early christians took over the dates of this and lots of other festivals to make it a wee bit easier to popularise the new religion. People would have been really pissed if they hadn't been able have a good old festival day.

Also, I agree about fishflesh, fowlflesh and beastflesh all being meat. And I can't eat any of them right now.

Ardlair
AKA The Pagan Vegan.

Pete Bogs said...

Aunt B - wow, we agree on one Catholic issue! as you point out, you can't go out and have sauteed shrimp in lemon butter and say you are suffering - well, unless you get food poisoning... shellfish is a risky diet...

freya - thanks, I think... nice to see you again!

Pete Bogs said...

Ard - yeah, back at Xmas I talked about how many pagan celebrations were adapted by Christians to make the new faith more attractive to converts... come on over to Christianity and you can keep your holidays - just no naked dancing at Stonehenge, please...

I thought about continuing that discussion here about the Olestra (sic) celebration, but decided to take a different approach to my Easter blog...

Hellpig said...

Ahhhhhhhh just makes me want to unwrap my 24 oz. Porterhouse steak I just bought yesterday @ $10.99 a pound, four of them cost me near $60.00,tiz the season time to break out the grill and fill up the tanks.

ardlair said...

Peter,
You have not been reading my blog.

They call me.....................................Ardlair.

Not, Mr Tibbs.

Pete Bogs said...

hell - call up your local Catholic church while you're eating and say, "Hear this? That's me eating meat on Friday!"

ardlair - m'kay

Bird said...

Hellpig -I'm on my way over for some of that grilled steak!

Bogs - about this Lenten thing...
I look at it a bit differenly. After years of giving up candy for lent as a child, i decided as an adult and ex-catholic to actually practice a different kind of lent -to use the lenten time as the approach to the life rejuvenating rite of spring, i decided instead of sacrificing by giving up something, I would celebrate the spirit by DOING something positive. first, this was just for myself. so for lent, i would vow to exercise three timesa week, or make time 4x a week to write in a journal, or take time once a week to candle gaze and thing about who i was and my plce in the world, or PONDER DEEP THOUGHTS - some sort of self-improvement goal that involved doing something. that slowly shifted to setting goals for lent that involved doing something to make the world better - as simple a thing as committing myself to saying hello and smiling at anyone i encountered in my day, or cleaning out my closets during lent and making donations to chairy of those things i no longer used or needed. or everytime i went grocery shopping during lent, pick up an extra bag of flour, or can of soup, or package of pasta and donate it to the local food bank. or everyday during lent, if i saw trash on the ground i would pick it up. sometimes,these small practices would become habits that lasted long past lent

to me, this is a lenten practice that,if i were still a catholic, would be more meaningful than giving up candy,or meat, or alcohol, etc. and perhaps,according to my understanding of who Jesus was - would mean more to him as well. and as a non-catholic now, these sort of actions jive more with my own sense of spirituality and community conciousness.

Hellpig said...

everybody is welcome,to feast at the Pigs abode,we even have Veggies for those of you not wanting to par-take in the festive grilling of flesh.My friend always brings her veggie platter to my BBQ's and her dip is to die for.......MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Pete Bogs said...

bird - it's wonderful that you've turned it into something that has real meaning for you... I think the idea of sacrifice, especially if it's alreday something you shouldn't do, is a noble one... whatever inspires people to be or do better... but I don't think people should fool themselves that they're giving something up when they aren't... the fish thing is a paltry (no pun intended) sacrifice based upon a misunderstanding...

hell - sounds good...

Bird said...

how bout we all have some beer for lent? oh oops - that would be fat tuesday! (which really is the best part of lent anyway!).

fatty ~ said...

its true - it kinda a little pathetic. I suppose its the thought that counts.

Some buddhists [like my grandparents] can not eat meat on holy days or special worship days. There is a whole range of cooking styles based around Gai - or vegetarian foods [lots of tofu].

Pete Bogs said...

fatty - sounds like your grandparents understand the meaning of "meat"

I love tofu and other soy products, but won't give them up for anything!

ffff said...

Yes, Easter was(is) the pagan rite of Spring, which in actual fact does not work down here in Aust as it is Autumn. I think the fish thingy also had to do with 'bloody' meat. So heck.. obviously they have never actually sliced the head off a newly caught fish!!
Like Ardlair, this info is brought to you with compliments of an atheist..but I am not a vegan.
Cheers

Pete Bogs said...

ali - I always depend on athiests for good info, even on the Olestra holiday... and no, I've never caught and sliced the head off a fish... well, not for food anyway...