Fish on Friday

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by AntonyC, Jun 9, 2023.

  1. AntonyC

    AntonyC New Member

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    Is this a practice rooted solely in the Roman Catholic church, or was it also widely practiced in the Church of England?
     
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The history is a bit obscure - I’ll have to go back and look up the primary sources for it - but the short answer is yes, the Church of England continued to recommend abstaining from fish on Friday after the break with Rome.
     
  3. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Something's very fishy about that tradition! :laugh:
     
  4. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that fish was compulsory fare for Fridays in support of the fishmongers lobby, (who probably were generous donors to some pope or other), so can't understand why anyone should be told to actually 'abstain', rather than just leave the eating of fish on Friday entirely optional. The church at one time got altogether too controlling and prescriptively limiting on the freedom to choose for Christ's followers. As if it has the right to tell them what to do with their lives and regulate every minute of them. It tried that once and it was less than even a partial success, fortunately.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2023
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    As I remember it from my youth, RCs were to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, so they tended to eat fish instead. Not required of them to eat fish, though. I don't know much about the history and origin of the rubric, and even less about Anglican historic practice in that regard.

    I've never heard of a prohibition from eating fish. Perhaps our illustrious colleague @Invictus misspoke by accident.
     
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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Yes indeed, I stand corrected. :facepalm: They ate fish because they abstained from meat on Friday. (It’s the Orthodox who abstain from both on Friday.) I must have gotten my wires crossed. @Tiffy is correct that there was a commercial component to discouraging meat-eating on Friday, in that it was partly intended to help support fishing businesses.
     
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  7. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

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    There was a large number of hyper protestants in English society who discouraged eating fish on fast days, on the basis that eating fish was a papal superstition (the "if-Rome-does-it-it's-bad syndrome). This sentiment was ultimately rejected by the reformed Anglican Church, mostly for social reasons (as the protestant hatred of fish was hurting the fish market), and so the practice of eating fish on Friday continues in Anglicanism.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2023
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I think eating fish is a much wider spread habit among the population than Anglicans can claim though. :laugh: Many people eat fish on Fridays and on other days too. It's ludicrous to think you are doing something with religious significance when eating fish on a particular day of the week. :laugh: Next we'll be being told that the last resurrection appearance when Jesus cooked breakfast for the disciples was definitely on a Friday.
    .
     
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  9. ByOldEyes

    ByOldEyes Member

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    Lol.

    Well it's crazy how times change. If you were living during the reign of Henry VIII, eating fish on an ember day essentially meant that you were an idolatrous smoocher of the Pope's feet and might need to be reported to the local authorities for partaking of that flesh of popery. Any time I'm feeling down, I just think about what it was like to be an English fisherman with no other sources of income during the early 1500s. Or really, I just think about living at all during the 1500s (because chances are, I wouldn't be alive for very long).
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2023
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that was the very first "Friday fish fry" fundraiser of the proto-Knights-of-Columbus! :rofl:
     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I think the Fish on Friday tradition crosses all denominational divides. It's such a prevalent practice in the American South that the all-you-can-eat Buffets always serve fish and seafood on Fridays. That's just a Buffet law.
     
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  12. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I cook fish on Wednesday and Friday much of the time. Now, to me, the fish thing seems like a clever skirting of the rules - right in the letter of the law but perhaps not the intention. I cook fish 2-3 times a week because we used to live by the coast, it was affordable, and my kids grew to like it. I still do it, though it is less affodable now. But fish is fairly unpopular where I live so I can often buy it at a reduced price at the local Walmart. My older daughter's teacher was both surprised and disturbed by the variety of seafood that is served at my table.
     
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  13. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Those were indeed very dangerous times to be alive. Much safer to be already dead back then, with all that violent religious hypocrisy.
    .
     
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  14. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Jesus and His disciples ate fish often. Fish and whole-grain bread were staples. @Shane R , you have good precedent for the seafood on your table.
     
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  15. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    My last diocesan event was in Florida. I stayed an extra day to take my kids to Daytona Beach. We walked to a crab place for supper and I just ordered a bunch of appetizers. We had coconut shrimp, alligator bites, conch fritters, a mixed pot of mussels and clams, and hush puppies. The conch was a first for us.

    I think the diocese had about a 3 year run where the annual meeting was hosted by some of the most Anti-Catholic parishes and the Friday lunch was invariably tuna fish salad sandwiches. And meatless pizza if there was a dinner.

    If they ever let me plan the event I'll make a 12 quart pot of soup beans and about 4 dozen cornbread muffins. A taste of Appalachia and still within the fasting rules
     
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  16. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Ah! The auto correct got me. It's the Anglo-Catholic parishes that always have tuna fish salad sandwiches.
     
  17. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Anti-Catholic Anglicans, heh. :laugh:

    I refuse to use auto correct on any device. It bugs the you-know-what out of me! :disgust: I'm good with spelling and grammar anyhow.
     
  18. DadHocHypothesis

    DadHocHypothesis Member

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    The 1662 BCP declares all Fridays fast days, but how often that meant choosing fish over meat, I can't say. I do know that Bishop Taylor in the 17th Century didn't believe that "changing flesh for fish" was as beneficial as actual fasting. Before the Reformation, "fish-days" are mentioned in the Forme of Cury, the cookbook of Richard II.
     
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    “Fasting” only referred to the quantity. “Abstinence” referred to the quality (i.e., kind) of the food, e.g., that one didn’t eat meat (or whatever else was being abstained from).
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2023
  20. JonahAF

    JonahAF Moderator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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