Lent is no match for Super Rodent!

Most of the topics I write about on this blog are serious matters involving spiritual life and death, but there are occasions when I come across something that can only be categorized as sadly comical. Case in point:

This year, the Catholic church’s Lenten season runs from Wednesday, February 14th to Thursday, March 29th and Catholics are strictly forbidden from eating meat on all six of the Fridays during that span under the threat of committing mortal sin, which they are told will doom them to hell. But getting down to the nuts and bolts of what actually constitutes “meat” can get a little tricky as I alluded to in the infamous Chicken in a Biskit post (see here.)

Well, now we have another very strange twist to this rule regarding abstention from meat during Lent.

A few days ago, I was listening to the 2/21/18 podcast of the “Called to Communion” Catholic talk radio show. Moderator, Tom Price, and host, David Anders, were discussing Lenten abstinence restrictions and Anders unflinchingly mentioned that Venezuelan Catholics are allowed to eat the meat of a capybara on Fridays. Capybara? What’s that? Well, it turns out that capybara (photo above) are the largest living rodent in the world, ranging anywhere from 80 to 150 pounds full grown and they like to hang out near or in water. They are a dietary staple of Central America and some say they taste like pork with a slightly fishy accent. As the tale goes, Padre Sojo, Venezuela’s most influential Catholic cleric at the time, traveled to Rome in 1794 and petitioned pope Leo XII to allow his countrymen to eat the meat of the capybara during Lent because, he argued, the animal spent so much time in the water that it was more like a fish than a warm-blooded mammal. Remember, fish are okay to eat on Fridays during Lent, but not the meat from mammals or birds. Sojo’s absurd argument evidently made an impression on the credulous pope because he granted his request and actually issued a Papal Bull decreeing that Venezuelans were free to eat capybara during Lent without incurring a mortal sin.

So Venezuelan Catholics can gorge themselves on capybara burgers on Lenten Fridays with an absolutely clear conscience, but if an American Catholic takes even one bite of a Big Mac, they are doomed to Hell forever!

But this sinner who was freed from the chains of Catholicism and is saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone has a hypothetical question for my Catholic friends. Let’s suppose an American Catholic travels down to Venezuela on business during Lent. He’s walking the streets of Caracas on a Friday at noon and smells the wonderful aroma of barbecue in the air. In a few minutes, he discovers the source of the olfactory bliss; a sidewalk food vendor who beckons him over to try some of his smokey barbecued capybara. The American, mouth watering, declines with noticeable regret, saying in broken Spanish that he is prohibited from eating meat on Friday during Lent. But the vendor reassures him that the pope himself declared it was okay to eat capybara in Venezuela during Lent and another native walking by confirms the information. The American then hungrily orders a double-plateful of barbecued capybara and eats his fill. The next day, the American begins his journey back to the U.S., but his plane crashes and all aboard perish. Which now brings us to our question: Did the American Catholic go to hell for eating capybara on a Lenten Friday because he was still under the jurisdiction of his American bishop or did Leo XII’s papal bull cover all the bases?

Catholic friend, if you ever get tired of spinning in Catholicism’s legalistic hamster (another rodent) wheel, turn to Jesus Christ. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus Christ to save you by faith in Him alone.

Is Catholicism a false religion? Are Catholics saved?

Postscript: Some may object to my interjection of humor in this discussion, but folks, seriously, I couldn’t have come up with this “capybara dispensation” in my wildest dreams.


Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season for Roman Catholics, so I thought it would be appropriate to dig up this old favorite about the challenging complexities of abstaining from meat on Lenten Fridays.


This morning I was listening to the 10/30/15 podcast of the Calling All Catholics talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, New York. “Father” Dave Baker was taking questions, assisted by moderator, Mike Denz.

One of the listeners had a question regarding the church’s rule on abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, which I thought was quite timely because we’re currently in the Lenten season. Because the Catholic church absolutely forbids meat on Fridays during Lent, any Catholic who defiantly consumes meat commits a “mortal” sin and is doomed to hell for eternity unless they confess the sin to a priest.

To continue reading, visit the original post via Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

Oy vey! Yet ANOTHER liturgical calendrical dilemma for Catholics!

Catholics had a bit of a quandary on their hands last month with Christmas, a Holy Day of Obligation (HDO), falling on a Monday. Catholics were required to attend regular obligatory Sunday mass on December 24th as well as mass the next day, Monday, December 25th, Christmas day. Failure to attend mass on both days was purported to be a mortal sin that doomed the Catholic to Hell for eternity unless they confessed it to a priest. I wonder what percentage of Catholics actually complied?

Well, leave it to me, but I was scanning the news the other night and I see that Catholics have another difficult situation approaching. The article below says Ash Wednesday falls on the same day this year as Valentine’s Day – February 14th.

What’s the problem with that? Glad you asked, as my former pastor used to say.

For Catholics, Ash Wednesday is the first day of their 40-day penitential Lenten season. Ash Wednesday is NOT an HDO, so Catholics DO NOT have to attend mass that day, although they are strongly encouraged to do so and to receive ashes made from the blessed palm fronds from last year’s Palm Sunday on their forehead. But on Ash Wednesday, Catholics ARE required to spend the day in “fasting and abstinence.” The church’s rule for fasting states that all Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 may eat only “one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.” Break out the food scales! The church defines abstinence as refraining from consuming any meat. All Catholics, from age 14 and up, are obligated to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday. See here for the rules.

If a Catholic does not fast or abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday they commit mortal sin. Catholics must also abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. On Good Friday, they are also required to spend the day in “fasting and abstinence.”

So, what’s a Catholic to do with Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day this year? The church advises its members to choose another day to romance their sweetie. The Chicago archdiocese recommends they choose Tuesday, February 13th – Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Pączki Day – because that is the day Catholics traditionally whoop it up before they have to buckle down for Lent. Hmm. Even as a young Catholic I thought that “painting the town” the day immediately preceding Lent was just a “tiny bit” contradictory and hypocritical.

Can a Catholic get around this obligation by celebrating Valentine’s Day and postponing their Ash Wednesday fasting and abstinence to some other day? It doesn’t appear at this point that any of the U.S. Catholic bishops are granting dispensations for Ash Wednesday. Many of the bishops did, however, grant a dispensation last year when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Lenten Friday. Mustn’t interfere with that sacred corned beef and cabbage! So why was it OK to grant a dispensation for St. Patrick but not for St. Valentine? I don’t understand? [sarcastically feigning confusion]

Actually, NONE of the above has ANYTHING to do with the Lord, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ alone! It’s just another example of the Catholic church requiring everyone to march to the drumbeat of its liturgical calendar and prescribing a specific amount of time spinning inside its religious hamster wheel in order for its members to “hopefully” merit Heaven. How many Catholics will actually abide by the “fasting and abstinence” rule on Ash Wednesday/Valentine’s Day? Catholic sources report only 20% of its membership attend obligatory mass every Sunday and only 12% go to confession at least once a year as required, but a whopping 45% receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. People just love certain ceremonies and rituals. That’s their “religion.” They won’t attend mass every Sunday or EVER go to confession, which both doom them to Hell with no exceptions according to their church, but they do like to parade around in public with ashes on their forehead throughout the day. Interesting.

Catholic friend, rituals, ceremonies, and man-made traditions don’t save. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone.

Ash Wednesday trumps Valentine’s, Chicago archdiocese says

Postscript: Only fourteen days until Lent. Could the infamous Chicken-in-a-Biskit post be far behind?