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  #1  
Old 14 February 2013, 06:36 PM
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Alligator Are alligators meat or fish?

Comment: My nephew just shared on Facebook a letter dated in 2010,
purportedly from the Archbishop of New Orleans to an alligator farmer, in
reply to a question as to whether alligator meat is considered seafood and
whether Catholics can eat it on Fridays during Lent. The Archbishop says
it is in this letter. As alligators are reptiles and not fish, crustaceans
or bivalves, that sounds awfully suspicious to me!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...&type=1&ref=nf
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  #2  
Old 14 February 2013, 06:42 PM
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Ah, the capybara exemption.
If they staged some sort of ceremonial fight, an alligator could easily take a capybara and claim the coveted seafood title for itself.
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:46 PM
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I don't know about a Louisiana Bishop ruling about alligator meat being fish for purposes of Lent, but I do know that caimans and capybara have both been officially declared as fish by Bishops in South America so the precedent is there.
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:48 PM
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Goldfish

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=478135

Quote:
An alligator is certainly not a fish, and it certainly does have meat. But the custom of abstaining from meat on Fridays is abstinence from the flesh of mammals and birds. Fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, etc., are exempt from this. Since an alligator is a reptile, those who abstain from meat on Fridays are free to eat alligator if they wish.
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:50 PM
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Well, that answers that.
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  #6  
Old 14 February 2013, 06:52 PM
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I didn't realize keeping meatless Fridays was still a thing for Catholics. Is it like the ban on birth control, where it's still official doctrine even though nobody follows it?
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
As alligators are reptiles and not fish, crustaceans or bivalves, that sounds awfully suspicious to me!
Did the concept of reptiles and amphibians as a class of animal distinct from fish and shellfish exist back in biblical days?
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:55 PM
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you would be surprised. Even non-devout Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays. Of course, any day with seafood is a good day, especially here on the coast!
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Old 14 February 2013, 06:57 PM
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Before our careful delineation of creatures into clades based on lineage and shared inherent features, creatures were often grouped according to such features as living habits. In particular for the purpose of fasts, 'fish' was any water-living creature. It is easy enough to see how the wholly water-living non-piscine swimming creatures like whales, dolphins, and manatees could be grouped with fish. And the shellfish make similar sense, as obligatory water dwellers. Water-habituated creatures that spend substantial time out of water, like capybaras, crocodilians, and hippopotamuses seem more problematic to us. Of course, it should be kept in mind that the priests were making decisions based on second-hand reports, so they had to rely on what they were told about the nature of the animals.
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Old 14 February 2013, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I didn't realize keeping meatless Fridays was still a thing for Catholics.
It is still required during Lent at least.
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Old 14 February 2013, 07:03 PM
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Also, reptiles in the Old Testament are forbidden to eat. At all. Makes you wonder where the division actually is. There's no separation of what foods to eat on certain days in the Bible, either.

They ain't never had no fried gator...
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Old 14 February 2013, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hambubba View Post
Also, reptiles in the Old Testament are forbidden to eat. At all. Makes you wonder where the division actually is.
So are pigs, but that has not stopped Christians from eating them since at least 100 A.D.
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Old 14 February 2013, 07:57 PM
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Goldfish

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I didn't realize keeping meatless Fridays was still a thing for Catholics. Is it like the ban on birth control, where it's still official doctrine even though nobody follows it?
There must be some reason that practically every fast food chain suddenly has fish available on the menu starting about a week before Lent, which disappears again not longer after Easter.

But GenYus is correct in that it's still required certain times through the year. ETA: At least by Catholics. I think some Lutherans and Episcopalians adhere to the no-Friday-meat-during-Lent idea as well.
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Old 14 February 2013, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
I didn't realize keeping meatless Fridays was still a thing for Catholics. Is it like the ban on birth control, where it's still official doctrine even though nobody follows it?
Fish fries are a big deal around here on Fridays during Lent. There are blogs where non-catholics compare who has the best offerings in different parishes. (Maybe it is a big deal elsewhere I don't know.) They are kind of fun to go to and the quality has improved a great deal since I was a kid.
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Old 14 February 2013, 08:40 PM
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It's an ascetic practice, not an exercise in gastronomic taxonomy. It doesn't have to make sense from a cladistic viewpoint.

Nick
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  #16  
Old 15 February 2013, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
Ah, the capybara exemption.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
I do know that caimans and capybara have both been officially declared as fish by Bishops in South America so the precedent is there.
Here's what Bonnie found almost four years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie View Post
I've never been able to find anything in the historical record (at least in English) to support the notion that the Vatican at some point for the purpose of Venezuelan Lent declared the capybara to be fish.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnie View Post
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.
It's a very popular tale but all of these sites just repeat the story without anything to back it up. The San Diego Zoo, for example, repeats the story but does not provide any cites and doesn't even name which pope supposedly did this.

On the other hand, considering what snopes found about alligators the story about caimans strikes me as likely. (Alas, I haven't found any useful information.)

Brian
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  #17  
Old 15 February 2013, 01:59 AM
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Alligator

The more pressing question is whether or not alligators are allowed to eat human during Lent. (Don't worry. The icon isn't an alligator - it's a croc. It isn't even Catholic.)
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  #18  
Old 15 February 2013, 02:05 AM
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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 ruling from the pope or anything.

Also, IIRC the practice of eating fish during Lent was established as means of helping out Catholic fishermen rather than for religious purposes.
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  #19  
Old 15 February 2013, 02:15 AM
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Goldfish

Uh-oh. I'm sorry to say so but that sounds like a UL. I think fasting was just fasting and fish were considered a bit less self-indulgent than meat.
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  #20  
Old 15 February 2013, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pudding Crawl View Post
Ah, the capybara exemption.
And beavers! There's nothing like eating beaver on a Friday night.
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