Good Friday


“Good Friday is a very important holiday in Catholic Ecuador. In Quito takes place the Jesus del Gran Poder procession in the old colonial center, starting from the San Francisco Church. A statue of Jesus is carried through the streets, accommpanied by hooded men and others doing penitence on this day.”

© Erich Lehenbauer


“Q: Why is an exception made for eating fish on Fridays? Isn’t fish meat, too?

A: Biologically, yes; fish is also meat in that it is the flesh of an animal. However, one must be sensitive to the different senses in which one can use a term. Many people (Catholic and non-Catholic) do not use the term “meat” to refer to all animal flesh but only to the flesh of mammals and fowls. Most people, for example would not refer to the flesh of insects as “meat,” so right there we have an instance where “meat” does not denote everything which is the flesh of an animal (for insects are classified as belonging to the animal kingdom). Many people similarly exclude fish from the definition of the term.


Regardless of how broadly or narrowly the term “meat” is used, however, there are reasons why fish is not included in the Latin Rite’s abstinence. The reason meat was picked as the thing to abstain from is that in prior decades and centuries, meat (as opposed to fish) was a special sign of feasting and rejoicing since it couldn’t be had every day. Thus it was appropriate to deny oneself this sign of rejoicing as a gesture of sorrow for having offended God by one’s sins. However, fish (as opposed to meat) did not have this connotation. Fish was not a special sign of rejoicing the same way that meat was, as it was less expensive and did not require slaughtering one of the animals of the flock or herd.”

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All material copyright © 1997 by James Akin