Fwd: Pope announces priests to become taxonomists

Beach, James H beach at KU.EDU
Wed Apr 2 10:14:44 CST 2003

Normally topics of religion don't fit well with a taxonomic mailing list,
but the Polish Pope April Fools item forces me to come forward with this
intersection of the two realms.

In the land of my childhood, "Downriver" Detroit, there is a large community
of Polish Catholics in the city of Wyandotte which sits on the banks of the
Detroit river. In order to accommodate a particular gustatory fondness, a
past Pope (so the story goes --I've not been able to track down which one.)
decreed that the muskrat was a water animal--akin to a fish, in order to
allow the Polish Catholic citizens of Wyandotte to eat muskrat on Fridays
during Lent.  To this day, if you visit Wyandotte, one can dine on muskrat
on Friday night.  I haven't tried it, but understand muskrat is now farmed
to ensure quality.

It makes me wonder what other interesting "one-off" classifications the
Catholic Church may have in their annals.

Jim B.

James H. Beach
Biodiversity Research Center
University of Kansas
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
Tel: 785 864-4645, Fax: 785 864-5335
Televideocon: (H.323):

> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Noyes [mailto:jsn at NHM.AC.UK]
> Sent: 02 April, 2003 3:48 AM
> Subject: Re: Fwd: Pope announces priests to become taxonomists
> Doug,
> I wonder. Look at the date!
> John
> At 10:00 AM 4/1/2003 -0800, Doug Yanega wrote:
> >This one is an eye-opener. Is there hope for us yet?
> >
> >>Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 09:32:04 -0800
> >>To: dyanega at pop.ucr.edu
> >>Subject: Fwd: Pope announces priests to become taxonomists
> >>
> >>>----------
> >>>From Rueters:
> >>>
> >>>April 1, 2003
> >>>
> >>>      In a stunning announcement, Pope John Paul today proclaimed
> >>>that he intends to make taxonomy, the science of naming and
> >>>classifying organisms, one of the Church's highest priorities, and
> >>>called upon his priests to turn to the practice of
> taxonomy as "a way
> >>>of realizing their Divine calling." Citing the Book of
> Genesis, the
> >>>pontiff explained that the first and only task that God
> gave Adam to
> >>>perform was the naming of all the earth's creatures, and further
> >>>noted that he has been advised that "most scientists believe that
> >>>less than 10 percent of the world's species have actually
> been given
> >>>names as of today." The Pope went on to suggest that the
> scientists
> >>>will never complete this "Divine mission", and that only if the
> >>>Church turns its vast resources and manpower to this problem "can
> >>>God's first directive to mankind ever be realized." He
> asked that his
> >>>priests make it a goal of their lives to undertake the
> naming of as
> >>>many new species as possible, and to coordinate their efforts "by
> >>>forming a Commission whose aim is to identify gaps in present
> >>>classification, and delegate responsibility for filling
> those gaps."
> >>>The Pope further invoked the names of St. Francis of
> Assisi and the
> >>>monk Gregor Mendel as examples of holy men who felt an
> affinity for
> >>>God's handiwork as expressed in the natural world,
> referring to the
> >>>practice of naming creatures as "the world's oldest profession," a
> >>>remark which his advisers later apologized for as an unintended
> >>>phrasing based upon their translation from Polish to English.
> >>>----------
> >--
> >
> >Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology
> Research Museum
> >Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
> >phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are
> mine, not UCR's)
> >   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> >         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> >
> >
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