Fwd: Pope announces priests to become taxonomists

John McNeill johnm at ROM.ON.CA
Wed Apr 2 15:11:40 CST 2003

Although I do not have Adolf Ceska's expert knowledge (direct from the altar as it were), having lapsed from the Reformed tradition rather than the Roman Catholic one, my limited experience suggests that the RC church is not always as fundamentalist (dogmatic), whether in matters of scripture or of "ex cathedra" statements, as it generally projects itself as being.  One of my amusing memories of religious bigotry is when a Burmese (RC) graduate student protested about lunching in the local  pub one Friday because they did not serve fish (or muskrat) there, and was berated by a fellow (Spanish R.C.) graduate student for such backward superstition, expressed with just a touch of racist tones -- I was able to prevent bloodshed only because I was apparently the only one present who was aware that the Spanish have had a papal dispensation permiitting them to eat meat on Fridays since the Middle Ages -- after all there was no need in largely frost-free Spain to provide this economic incentive for the fishing industy -- so as to ensure winter fish supplies to spin out the maggotty salt-meat.   So I am quite open to the idea of an indulgence for (against) muskrat also!  John McNeill
John McNeill, Director Emeritus, Royal Ontario Museum;
    Honorary Associate ,Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Mailing address:  Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, Scotland, U.K.
Telephone:    +44-131-248-2912;  fax: +44-131-248-2901
Home office:  +44-162-088-0651;  fax: +44-162-088-0342
e-mail: jmcneill at rbge.org.uk (johnm at rom.on.ca is also read)

>>> Adol Ceska <aceska at TELUS.NET> 04/02/03 11:43 AM >>>
James H. Beach wrote:

> 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.  

Dr Beach is wrong. I am sure that Polish Catholics are pulling our legs.
Muskrat would have to have fins and scales in order that they would be able
to eat it - legally I mean - on Fridays (and ever):

The Book or Leviticus, Chapter 11 clearly stated:

These may ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and
scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may ye eat. 
And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all
that swarm in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the
waters, they are a detestable thing unto you, 
and they shall be a detestable thing unto you; ye shall not eat of their
flesh, and their carcasses ye shall have in detestation. 
Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that is a detestable thing
unto you.

On the contrary, if you consider muskrat an aquatic animal, you will be
considered "unclean until the even," if you eat it.

Adolf Ceska, Victoria, B.C., Canada
Catholic Altar Boy [retired]

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