Friday, April 22, 2011

What animals can be eaten on Good Friday, April 21, 2011

For Catholics, Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence from meat. But there is some confusion as to what is actually allowed. Before modern taxonomy, the term "fish" had a broader meaning to many people. We would now recognize a fish as a cold-blooded animal from the ocean or a pond that breathes under water. That may not be the exact definition, but its close enough. However, before this, fish would just be considered any animal that is predominantly a water-dweller. Because of this, certain regions have exceptions to the general rule of abstaining from meat, such as:

- Seal can be eaten in Newfoundland on Good Friday
- Muskrat can be eaten in some parts of the United States on Fridays during Lent
- Some places in Europe allowed and possibly still allow the consumption of beaver tails

Here is some further information from

Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.

Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning.


If you are aware of any other exceptions, feel free to post a comment about it.


  1. if this blog is entitled Catholicism for everyone, perhaps your Good Friday blogs could touch on the key theme in Catholicism, that is the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins on the very first Good Friday. I understand that these other variables are important in how we honour that sacrifice, but we need a ground zero, if the blog is Catholicism for Everyone, start at ground zero

  2. This blog post has a very specific topic. I agree that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is of central importance on Good Friday, however the scope of this article did not include this.