ASK FATHER: Lent, #AshWednesday and the ol’ aligator on Friday question!

I have posted on this in the past, but repetita iuvant as we say in Latin.

ORIGINAL:

Someone sent me a copy of a letter written by the Archbishop of New Orleans to a member of his flock about eating alligator during Lent.  The answer is “yes”.  You may eat alligator during Lent.

This is old news to readers of this blog, of course.  Last year I posted this, which ought to have settled the whole thing:

QUAERITUR: Abstinentia de carne lacertina aut crocodrillina

Ex lectoris e-pistulis extractum:

Reverendo patro Ioanni Zuhlsdorf discipulus C. salutem et commemorationem in precibus suis. Gratias meas, sivis, ob opum tuam tibi agere volo. [Acceptae.] Mihi, catholico iuveni et discipulo in collegio liberalum artis et liberalum (aut impudicarum) mentum, scripturae tuae magnam auxilium fuerunt. Mox Ludovicianam meabo. Quaeritur: Sineturne corpus alligatoris feria VI in Quadregesima sine violando abstinentiam Quadragesimae edere?

Corrigendis ignotis

Ossificatus manualista impoenitens respondeo de paginis Compendii Theologiae Moralis (Sabetti-Barrett) n. 331, :

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Nomine carnis veniunt omnia animalia in terra viventia ac respirantia, ut communiter admittunt theologi ex regula tradita a S. Thoma vel, ut S. Alphonsus innuit, n. 1011, animalia quae sanguinem habent calidum; vel illud quod consuetudo regionis ut carnem habet; vel, si nec consuetudo praesto sit, dubium solvi potest considerando mentem Ecclesiae in sanciendo delectu ciborum, ut comprimendae ac minuendae carnis concupiscentiae per salutarem abstinetiam consuleret; examinetur, an huiusmodi animal simile sit aut dissimile iis quorum esus interdictus est et an illius carnes humano corpori validius nutriendo et roborando idoneae dignoscantur; et si ita appareat, ista caro inter vetitas est ponenda. Benedict XIV., De syn. dioec., lib.11, c. 5, n. 12. Haec quatuor multum deservient omni dubitationi solvendae.

Ergo, crocodrilli et lacertae inter reptilia sunt et amphibia.

Edi ergo possunt feriis sextis et tempore Quadragesimae

Omnibus tamen diebus ab eis edimur!

So, there you have it.

You can eat alligator and crocodile on Fridays of Lent.

ADDENDUM:

Speaking of fasting and abstinence, during Lent I get all sorts of questions about what can be eaten and how much of the what. Old manuals of moral theology help me out with most of the things people throw at me.

By the way, the justification for the eating of alligator was that they are cold-blooded.  I think Benedict XIV was unaware of the existence of the endothermic (warm-blooded) Moonfish.  But I digress…

Yes, you may fry your fish and chips in liquefied beef fat. We can also eat gelatin from meat but not peptonized beef.  (I had to look that up.) I believe, according to local custom, in some parts of South America capybara is allowed.

NB: Muskrat can be eaten on Fridays in some parts of Michigan. I’m told it tastes of dirty dishrag and has the consistency of very old, thick asparagus.

Please share!

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14 Responses to ASK FATHER: Lent, #AshWednesday and the ol’ aligator on Friday question!

  1. “I’m told it tastes of dirty dishrag”

    Hence the name “Musk”-rat. I wonder if that is where the name for the critter came from?

  2. Northern Ox says:

    I am pleased and edified to learn that on this one day of the year I may eat a crocodile, but if he is a good Catholic crocodile then he may not eat me.

  3. APX says:

    While not strictly related to Lenten meat abstinence, I am particularly confused about where duck fits in. [No duck.] I have an old Carmelite cookbook entirely meatless (Carmelites being pescatarians) with the exception of one recipe: Baked Wild Duck. It’s listed under Fish, Seafood, Eggs. It has left me bewildered. [No duck.]

  4. caputveritas says:

    I’ve also heard that an indult was given to fur trappers in the Great Lakes region to eat beaver on days of abstinence. Perhaps the stories I’ve heard were confused with muskrats, but I’m not inclined to eat either.

  5. MrsMacD says:

    caputveritas in any case you could eat beaver tails even if fried in bacon fat, though I can’t see how that would be a penance.

  6. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Directly after Ash Wednesday Mass this morning, a parishoner (former parish secretary – long -time retired) who likes to mother me a little , handed me a plastic bag with really heavy contents just as we who still remained were about to begin the Rosary. . . the aroma emanating from inside the bag was about as far from dirty dishrag as east is from west. It smelled so good my mouth started watering. She said , as she left, “It’s a meatloaf – but you can’t have it until tomorrow.”

    When I finally got this thing home , I had to wrap it some more and put it way in the back of the fridge where I wouldn’t be able to smell it.

    Looks like she gave me 2 things :

    – One for my stomach,

    – but first, something which would take an effort from the get-go that I could really work to offer to our loving Lord today.

    My Ash Wednesday just kind of jumped into gear today. I think maybe our Blessed Mother interceded so the deck would be stacked in my favor this time : So many Ash Wednesdays gone by where I tripped coming out of the starting gate.

    Still, I’ll be really surprised if I don’t sample that meatloaf at breakfast tomorrow.

    Maybe it would be an idea to make muskrat mandatory for every Friday in Lent : If it tastes that repulsive , then everybody would probably just go for the total fast instead.

  7. Mr. Graves says:

    “in any case you could eat beaver tails even if fried in bacon fat, though I can’t see how that would be a penance.”

    I can’t see how that would not be a penance. Ditto muskrat. Eww.

    Pass the alligator, please.

  8. Anthony says:

    What about rattlesnake? :D

  9. Mariana2 says:

    Muskrat is bisam in Swedish, and bisam pelts smell of musk. Hence the name, in English?

  10. Imrahil says:

    A grumpy comment to what the dear Grumpy Beggar wrote…

    unless she has a really good reason, in an “actions with double effect” sense, to give you the meatloaf precisely then (a reason which has nothing to do with the fact that it’s Ash Wednesday and she just likes to train you),

    that is objectively called a “temptation” and hence falls under the category of “what you don’t do to your fellow Catholics, and to those you particularly like least of all”.

  11. Grumpy Beggar says:

    The online etymology dictionary pegs the word musk‘s origin as 14 century French.

    But they say the word muskrat is said to have originated from the (first known 1610) North American indigineous – Algonquin usage, musquash.

    I wonder if a couple of centuries ago, someone may have ever gotten an unpleasant surprise for supper – being under the impression that he/she was about to be served “squash”. :)

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=musquash

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=musk

  12. PostCatholic says:

    It does seem odd to me that “Lobster Thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top” is licit, but not the Spam. I know what seems more penitential: like Graham Chapman, I don’t like Spam.

  13. JGavin says:

    Had alligator once. It was a penance. Needless to say once and done.

  14. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Imrahil says:

    A grumpy comment to what the dear Grumpy Beggar wrote…

    unless she has a really good reason, in an “actions with double effect” sense, to give you the meatloaf precisely then (a reason which has nothing to do with the fact that it’s Ash Wednesday and she just likes to train you),

    that is objectively called a “temptation” and hence falls under the category of “what you don’t do to your fellow Catholics, and to those you particularly like least of all”.

    LOL You’re right Imrahil . Timing is everything isn’t it ?

    I appreciate the input and the objectivity. Y’know, she might not like me after all. However, there is the possibility that her concern was genuine because these days, I truly resemble the second half of my username more than I would prefer , but . . . Ash Wednesday ? . . . Why couldn’t she have brought me musquash instead ?

    With your permission, I think I’ll try calling her hand tomorrow after Mass by asking her, “Exactly which part of ‘Lead us not into temptation’ are you having trouble with ?”

    God bless you Imrahil.