Thread: Capybara = fish
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Old 01 April 2009, 12:44 PM
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Bonnie Bonnie is offline
Join Date: 01 January 1970
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 148

That Wikipedia page is interesting, Floater, because footnote 23 reads,

Lacoursière, Jacques. Une histoire du Québec ISBN 2-89448-050-4 Explains that Bishop François de Laval in the 17th century posed the question to the theologians of the Sorbonne, who ruled in favour of this decision.
It should be easy enough, then, to find contemporaneous (or roughly so) accounts describing Laval's appeal to academics at the Sorbonne. (At least we should be able to find historical treatments of such. I haven't gone looking yet.)

What's also interesting about that footnote is that a discussion elsewhere cites a 1974 source holding that Padre Sojo (1739-1799), Venezuela's most famous cleric, "went to Italy at the end of the XVIII century and obtained [a bull] from the Pope whereby it was established that the capybara, because of its amphibious habits, was legitimate lenten fare, just like fish." Is there documentation for this trip or at least for a decision from the Vatican or from European (perhaps Spanish) academicians?

In the end, I'm curious about the circumstances that led to the Venezulan practice of considering capybaras (and other non-fish species) fish for purposes of Lent. 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.

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

-- Bonnie
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