Each Friday night after work, Bubba would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a venison steak. But, all of Bubba's neighbors were Catholic. And since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday.
The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.
The priest came to visit Bubba and suggested he become a Catholic.
After several classes and much study Bubba attended Mass, and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him he said " You were born a Baptist and raised a Baptist, but now you are a Catholic.
Bubba's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived and the wonderful aroma of grilled venison filled the neighborhood.
The priest was called immediately by the neighbors and he rushed into Bubba's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement.
There stood Bubba clutching a small bottle of holy water, which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted " You wuz born a deer, you wuz raised a deer, but now you is a catfish."
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Having been raised Protestant I've never understood the not eating meat on Friday thing. Not that I don't understand sacrifice and the spirit behind it. What I don't understand is when did fish not meat? I don't know the precise definition of meat (and am too lazy to look it up) but isn't fish animal flesh?
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Having mistakenly eaten meat on a Friday during Lent, I have come up with numerous excuses. I have not thought of Bubba's logic though.
Not that any Catholic who has ever taken an ocean cruise ever has to worry again, thanks to the clarity that Pope John Paul II provided in the motu proprio Stella maris. Here are the relevant excerpts, all from Section 2.
II. 1. In this document, the terms used are defined as follows:
a) Seafarers are those actually on board merchant ships or fishing vessels, and all who for whatever reason have undertaken a voyage by ship;...
(emphasis and bolface of roman numeral in original; remaining bolface added)
III. Mindful of the special circumstances of the people of the sea and taking into account the privileges which over the years the Apostolic See has granted this people, the following is established:
...2. [/b]Seafarers are not bound by the laws of fast and abstinence[/b] prescribed in can. 1251; they are advised, however, when taking advantage of this dispensation, to undertake a comparable work of piety in place of abstinence, and, as far as possible, to observe both laws on Good Friday in memory of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ;
(boldface of roman numeral in original; remaining boldface added)
So, according to the late pope, anybody who has ever taken a cruise vacation is a "seafarer" and thus not bound by the laws of fast and abstinance. Further, a motu proprio (literally, "on my own" meaning that the pope issued the document on his own initiative rather than at somebody else's request) is capable of establishing new law or derogating from existing law in its own right, and thus becomes the governing law by its promulgation.