A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fish on Friday is back! Did it ever go away?

Fishy Fridays for all
In the Daily Telegraph Cristina Odone is reporting on her blog that "the bishops are introducing once again the traditional diet of fish on Friday". This is, she claims, "a brilliant move, calculated to bind Catholics in England and Wales in an ancient observance many will remember as children. A change in diet may seem a small thing, but make no mistake about it: this is about strengthening the group’s identity, drawing a clear line distinction (even if only at meal times) between Catholics and the rest. Finally, the bishops believe Catholics are proud of their faith, and are ready to show it every week."

Now I know it was deemed not necessary to eat fish on Fridays by the previous pope, but is she so unaware that this is not something people have stopped altogether. In fact, the whole country, or that part which eats fish and is Christian, considers Friday a fish day. When I worked in the insurance business in the seventies, fish was a regular on the canteen menus for Fridays. I've seen fish in restaurants, hotels and supermarkets promoted on Fridays more than any other day. I've never really known fish not on a Friday. In fact, tonight our local fish and chip shop was bursting onto the street with customers. You don't get that on Thursdays.

I've always associated fish with Friday. You don't have to be Catholic to do that. In fact, the English never gave up many of the ways of the early church. My High Church proclivities may have steered me towards a fish eating Friday, but I think it was more my mother's doing. People are drawn to eating fish on Fridays because it is a custom of the land and nobody really queries it.

As an Anglo-Papalist (still!) I never feel good about eating red meat on Friday. I don't get het up if I do and I'm told that it is not a problem if I do. I'm rather curious if Cristina Odone is suggesting all Roman Catholics ran a mile from fish on Fridays when told it was not compulsory fare and are now considering buying Rick Stein recipe books to remind themselves of what they've been missing. Surely they're like the rest of us. Just carried on as usual!

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