Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Friday: Is seal flipper meat or fish?

In St. John's, Nfld., the Benevolent Irish Society is raising a thorny theological issue: whether seal flipper is meat or fish. It's an important question because tomorrow, Good Friday, the 204-year-old Irish fraternal organization is putting “flipper pie” on its menu. Good Friday is the day Catholics and others Christians commemorate Jesus's death on the cross. It's a day to fast and abstain from eating meat. So the society is serving cod, salmon, and a seafood platter. As for the seal flipper pie, the fact the society has already put the item on its menu suggests it has some pretty convincing doctrinal evidence in support of its decision, and indeed it does: According to the Archives of the Archdiocese of St. John's, research at the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archives indicates flippers are classed as fish. Apparently in Newfoundland Catholics have been permitted to eat “flipper pie” during Lent which coincided with the seal-hunt. Local legend says a Pope, through the local bishop, once declared the seal to be a fish so that during Lent and on meatless Fridays, starving Roman Catholics had a better chance to preserve both body and soul.


  1. In other words, the mind of the Church conforms herself to the authentic needs of the human person?

  2. It's okay as long as you only have one normal sized flipper and two smaller flippers.


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