I was told recently (for what has to be the millionth time) that eating fish on Friday is not abstaining from meat. And that’s true. And it would be pertinent if the Friday abstinence from meat were vegetarian in its aims. Which it’s not. We are to abstain from beef, mutton, pork and chicken. Fish are okay. Why? Well, for one thing, the custom stems from a time when beef and other forms of meat were on the rich man’s table but not very often on the menu of the poor. (Pork was off limits anyway to the Jews, which so many of the early Christians were.)
An interesting point in a post I read tonight is that Leviathan, the Biblical sea monster, represented evil and that eating seafood on Friday, the day of the Christ’s sacrifice and death on the cross, is a fitting way of affirming the Lord’s victory over the powers of darkness and death.
So to those who never tire of pointing out that I am failing in my alleged attempt to be a good vegetarian, I say, Hallelujah! Because being a vegetarian is the furthest thing from my mind. I seek only to obey my Mother, Holy Church, and to be mindful of my solidarity with the poor of the world.
I am much more horrified by the death and destruction of innocent, defenseless babies than I am the fish or the cow who ended up on my plate. I would certainly not abuse any animal. But I don’t consider eating them to be abusing them.
Even the Dalai Lama ate meat when his doctors told him he needed to eat meat because of the different climate he was living in after he had to leave his beloved (and Buddhist) Tibet. And because he tried a strict vegetarian diet for about a year and a half. And developed hepatitis B and damaged his liver to boot! So no more veggie only diet for the Compassionate One!
And while we’re discussing vegetarians, former vegetarians, and Buddhism, I might as well say it: while I was a practicing Buddhist, I was crushed to read the Dalai Lama’s response to someone who asked about his stance on abortion. He didn’t oppose it. He didn’t recommend it, but he didn’t oppose it.
And that was one of the many links in the chain holding me to the Buddhist path that broke and led me to resume my search for the truth. For the Truth. And the path in search of that truth, that Truth, led me to Holy Mother Church, who instructs me to eat fish on Friday while meditating on my Lord’s Passion.
And that it is a sin to murder any child at any age for any reason whatsoever.