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Old 16 February 2013, 02:25 AM
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BrianB BrianB is offline
Join Date: 03 March 2000
Location: Camarillo, CA
Posts: 3,565

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I never said anything about a pope. I've only ever heard of South American Catholic church leaders in areas where capybara were already an important part of the local diet declaring them to be fish, I've never heard it about it being something that was supposed to have been an official rung from the pope or anything.
While I think the unnamed 16th Century pope version is the least plausible (I think someone local would be more likely) I used it as an example because it appears to be the most popular. I know I'm being nitpicky (sorry) but the thing that interests me the most is what Bonnie said in the other thread:
Specifically, I'm interested to know whether there was a particular appeal to a European clerical body or official or whether this practice was adopted locally without obtaining consent from higher authorities.
So, did anyone at any level in the church make such a decision? I found some indications it might have been a local priest or monk but there doesn't seem to be any credible evidence that anyone with any authority (no bishops, archbishops, or popes) declared the capybara to be a fish. Do you remember where you read it was South American church leaders who made the decision? (My search came up empty. This is the closest I can find.) No worries if you don't. It's just that I would be very interested in reading it.

In addition, it could have been a church decision but without any need to declare a capybara a fish. For example, I found this thread on The Straight Dope where several posters make that argument:

Catholic Venezuelan checking in. I have hunted and eaten capybaras (chiguires) and was a seminarian there (what are the odds, huh?)

Capybaras are, in effect, large rodents, about the size of a small pig or a medium-large dog. They live most of their lives in flooded plains (esteros).

They are, most definitely, not fish nor does the Church think or established that they are fish, but there was a Papal dispensation allowing their consumption in days of abstinence.
So an episcopal conference or an individual bishops could easily declare that capybara meat is permitted for whatever reason, without having to nonsenically declare that it is a fish for the purpose of circumventing the regulation.
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