The season of lent is upon us. It began with Ask Wednesday on February 22 and will conclude on Easter Sunday April 9. For many Christians it begins the seasonal tradition of sacrifice. Emulating the sacrifice of Jesus’ life for our sins.
There are many ways that Christians choose to make their Lenten sacrifice, but the most common one that we know is to give up meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday leading up to Easter Sunday. Different Christians will define the practice and sacrifice differently, but it all amounts to a period of fasting and abstinence.
Lenten fasting and abstinence. Millions of people will abstain from meat during this the Holiest of seasons for the Christian faith.
My Catholic friends understand the rituals and their meanings better than most Protestants. I mean, really, why isn’t fish defined as meat? This is the question that I asked Beth. Well…maybe not in those exact words.
The answer goes back to 1966 when Pope Paul VI defined meat as “carnis” in regard to abstinence, a word that refers specifically to mammals and birds. So, technically and biologically fish is meat, but not in the way that Pope Paul the 6th defined it.
Beth didn’t use those exact words either. I used The Google for the previous paragraph. However, she described it accurately to the Pope’s definition.
The meat of mammals and fowl were once considered the food of grand celebrations while the eating of fish was associated with the diet of the poor. In the spirit of sacrifice and fasting, not all fish ‘should’ be consumed during lent.
While there is no prohibition to eating lobster or shrimp or any other higher end fish, it misses the point of recognizing Jesus’ suffering and sharing our blessings with the poor.
On a lighter note. The explanation of Lenten meat explains the propensity of some wait staff to recommend fish when a vegetarian or vegan makes their meatless or no animal requests. They are confusing true meatless with Lenten meatless.
Funny for carnivorous folks. For vegans and vegetarians…not as much.