Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism


Dicit ei Iesus, "Ego sum Via et Veritas et Vita; nemo venit ad Patrem nisi per Me"






St. Gabriel, Archangel and Patron of Communications

 
About This Site 


For questions about Catholicism,
Tradition, etc., please use the Discussion Forum,
where you will receive answers from a variety of traditional Catholics
-- some of whom I may vehemently disagree with.


FAQ




What is the purpose of this site?

The purpose of this site is to bring souls to the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church -- the Church headed by Christ and built on the rock of St. Peter, the Church against which the gates of Hell will never prevail. Fish Eaters strives to do this by showing Protestants the errors of Protestantism and by teaching Catholics to recognize what is and isn't Catholic. Fish Eaters wishes to inspire Catholics to do all in their power:

  • to fight to preserve the traditional Mass and all the other traditional Sacramental rites
     

  • to learn, teach, and guard every last drop of the Faith in the same way that Catholics have learned, taught, and guarded it for two millennia
     

  • to practice traditional devotions and popular customs that have always served to build strong Catholic families and communities, and to keep us all close to Christ

Further, the site has as its purpose teaching Catholics how to practice Catholicism in the traditional way. The For Catholics section focuses on the whys of traditional Catholicism; the Being Catholic section teaches the hows. This site's instructions are based on the 1962 calendar and Missal used by most traditional priestly fraternities, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. This site itself avoids debate between priestly fraternities with regard to the wisdom (or lack thereof) of worshipping outside ordinary diocesan structures, leaving such topics to the discussion forum where all -- Catholic or non-Catholic -- who respect the rules of the forum, and who can respect each other, are welcome.

Though traditional Catholicism is less a "movement" than a "staying where you are," I strive to make this site what "The Revealer," a publication of the New York University Department of Journalism and New York University's Center for Religion and Media, says it is: "an excellent introduction to the 'traditionalist' Catholic movement." And I want for FishEaters to live up to how I'm honored to have had Charles A. Coulombe describe it -- as a "[t]ruly amazing site --- encyclopedic, witty, and traditional, all done by an Italian-American housewife with a particular eye to the Church Year.  Hours of fun!"



Who made this site?

This site was written by me, Tracy  ("Vox Clamantis" at the forum), an Italian-American laywoman who wants nothing more than to teach others per paragraphs 15 and 16 of Pope Leo XIII's "Sapientiae Christianae" (1890):

15. ... Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. "How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must be preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God." It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all that pertains to morals and faith.

16. No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Saviour, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith." Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.

I claim no ecclesiastical authority or special credentials other than those of a laywoman who loves and studies the Faith and strives to pass it on accurately. I encourage guests to read Catechisms, papal documents, and other works to assure themselves of the site's accuracy, and to notify me of any errors they might find.

This site, which has been on the internet since 1996, is often used in RCIA programs, and is linked to from the websites of various parishes and chapels, cleric-run blogs and websites, the Catholic Encyclopedia, Latin Mass Magazine, Our Sunday Visitor, The Revealer and other credible, scholarly resources. It has been cited in Catholic Digest Magazine, dioscesan and parish newsletters, offerings from Circle Media, Inc. (publishers of the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family magazine), newspapers, and other such printed materials.

 

Is there a statement of faith associated with this site?

I affirm:

I believe each and every point of dogma in the Nicene Creed in the same manner the Church has always understood them. I believe each and every solemnly defined dogma ever offered by any Pope or Council, and fully agree with each statement given in Sacrorum Antistitum.

I believe Vatican II was a valid, pastoral Ecumenical Council convoked and approbated by true Popes. I believe the documents from the Council were very badly and ambiguously written and that said documents need to be interpreted only in light of tradition instead of -- as is all too often the case now -- by the media and those with a revolutionary agenda. I believe that this nebulous "spirit of Vatican II" spoken of by people who are always pushing for change is an evil "spirit" that has damaged the human element of the Church to such a degree that many parishes are almost unrecognizable as Catholic ones. I believe the human element of the Church is in a state of very grave crisis.

I believe that Francis is the true Pope and that we must pray for him and his Bishops every day.

Papa Benedetto


I believe that all Masses offered by validly ordained priests using valid matter, form, and intent, are valid Masses, including the vastly inferior new rite of the Mass. I believe Catholics should do all in their power to attend the traditional form of the Mass if it's available, and if it isn't available, they should rally their priests to make it so, as our priests are called upon to do by the previous Holy Father's Summorum Pontificum.

I pray for the restoration of the human element of Holy Mother Church and a return to a Tradition (all of it -- Sacramental rites, doctrine handed down through sound catechesis, customs, many disciplines) enlivened by true charity and marked by prudence, the forgotten virtue. I pray also for solidly Catholic families headed by strong, caring men, and nurtured by strong women who are treated with the same respect and dignity with which Our Lord treated Our Lady.

I reject the false ecumenism, neo-Gnosticism, Judaizing, Protestantizing, and liberalizing that have marked the post-conciliar period. From a different angle, I also reject sentimentalism, Puritanism, Jansenism, and legalism wherever I find it, and am quite tired of "trads" who think everything before Vatican II was peachy and that there was no room for improvement of the human element of Holy Mother Church. While, as a traditional Catholic, I don't believe that the Church began with Vatican II (as some uncatechized, ignorant-of-History Catholics seem to), I also don't believe that the Church began at Trent and that Her human element was frozen in perfection in 1955 (as some of the more annoying traditionalists seem to). I see such sentimentalized views of Tradition as emotional escapism, as a desperate grasping for a solution to the nauseating anomie of modern life. I see it as fear.

I also reject the feminizing of the human element of the Church, and see a strong patriarchy and support for fatherhood as the sine qua non of civilization. On the other hand, I reject "Victorianism" or "1950-ism" -- the idea that we need to "return" to some rigid, Beaver Cleaver or Victorian view of "normalcy" in which individuals who don't quite fit the (natural!) norms are crammed tightly into boxes, in which women's talents were devalued or sentimentalized away, and in which women were condescended to as if they were overgrown children or sexless, Holy Card-sweet bits of mindless froth with no needs of their own. No Catholic who knows Our Lady and who is aware of the great feminine intellects and personalities who pop up throughout Catholic History should have this sort of attitude toward women. Christ, spare us!

I also reject the tendency of some to deny (or behave as if they deny) the fact that the natural virtues and actual grace exist outside of Holy Mother Church; the trend toward Manichaeism on the part of some is very dangerous and very ugly.

My worldview is profoundly Catholic, medieval, and Italian. It is firmly centered on the Incarnation and sees the common modern desire to "spiritualize" everything away as nothing short of the heresy of dualism.

I believe the Church is a "hospital for sinners" like me rather than a social club for the perfect (may we all say "yes" to the Divine Physician and be healed!) While I believe absolutely that we must judge sin, I am very bothered by those who judge souls and who judge rashly, with Pharisaic attitudes.



 
What does the name "Fish Eaters" mean?

"Fish Eaters" is a moniker given to Catholics by anti-Catholics based on the Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays. Because of this Friday abstinence, Catholics often eat fish on that day, a food which is not considered meat (nor is it considered meat by Jews or Muslims, by the way). The term is also used good-humoredly by people who have no anti-Catholic animus, and it is, of course, used that way here.

On a deeper level, the name can be seen as pertaining to those who eat Christ -- "Ichthys" or "Fish" in the Greek acrostic -- in the Eucharist!

Qu'ils mangent de la poisson!
See important footnote about this picture!   



Is there a book or CD version of this site?

No, sorry. Not yet anyway. Maybe someday!



This site's social media links

If there's any trouble with the FishEaters website, the Facebook page is the place to look for information as to what's going on. Once in a while, a gremlin shows up and causes problems. Alas! Anyway, here are links to FishEaters social media sites:




 

 
Linking Policy

I don't fall for the idea that a given work is verboten simply because its author may have written other works that are questionable. That is an ad hominem fallacy and lacks charity; even the Index of Forbidden Books only banned individual works, not people or everything a given person ever wrote. If a lesbian atheist (like Camille Paglia, whose writings I often enjoy in spite of frequent obvious and vehement disagreement) writes a relevant, inoffensive essay, if Famous Apologist X who might have an animus against "trads" writes an article that any Catholic would find beneficial, if a dunderhead pundit who writes 99% nonsense comes up with a good one for once, etc., I might well link to the articles in question.

Essays, like art, stand on their own, apart from the writers and artists involved, and they should be judged on their own merits (to think otherwise is to romanticize art and make it only about personal expression rather than about the True, Good, or Beautiful). The arrogant, Manichaean idea that there's an "us" -- the good, holy people who err not -- and a "them" -- the baddies who can do no good and speak no Truth -- has got to stop. I loathe it when I see it among trad-bashers, and I loathe it when I see it among trads. Most people are good and bad, and do good and bad. This Truth informs my linking policy and I'm sticking to it, even if to the chagrin of those Catholics who can't fathom why I'd link to an article in the SSPX's Angelus, or of some trads who hate that I'd link to an article written by "Mr. Apologist Who Hates Trads," and so on. At this site's Offsite Links for Catholics and For Catholics pages, I try to provide information from which I believe all Catholics would benefit if they'd get over their holier-than-thou, "he's one of them!" gang-banging mentalities. I write -- and link -- for the typically educated, reasonable person of average intelligence whom I trust has read a few Catechisms and has some sort of clue as to how to separate the wheat from the chaff.



How to advertise on Fish Eaters or the Fish Eaters Discussion Forum

Please see this separate page for information and rates.
 


Do you accept donations?

Donations are gratefully accepted for the support of the website and, most especially, the forum, which requires a lot of help to remain in existence because it requires a dedicated server to exist. I am currently without outside employment, am sickly and otherwise challenged enough to have trouble finding work, so am now relying pretty much solely on advertising money to be able to eat. As you can imagine, any donation is very much appreciated, trust me. Visit this page to learn how to lend me a hand. And thank you!

 
 
How else can I help with this site?

  • Find all kinds of ideas on this page
  • Post news and interesting thoughts, reviews, etc., in the forum!
  • Link to this site from your website or blog (click here for banners)
  • Ask Catholic bloggers and webmasters to link!
  • Ask businesses you know to consider advertising on this site.
  • Add links to relevant pages in comment boxes on blogs (only when truly relevant and helpful!)
  • Use the www.fisheaters.com URL in sig lines and just spread the word
  • Send to me a self-addressed envelope with enough postage to cover your request, and ask for business cards with the FishEaters URL on it to give to people and leave in churches. Send to:  Tracy, 736 North Bosart Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46201, USA. Just tell me how many you'll need!
  • Visit this site's sponsors whose ads appear on FishEaters.
  • Buy books sold at Amazon.com through this site, such as on the Books for Non-Catholic Christians page, the Books for Catholics page, or through this search box:

 

How can I contact the person who wrote this site?

For questions about Catholicism and Tradition, for polemics, etc., use the discussion board where many different Catholics can help answer your questions (read the discussion forum FAQ there first before posting!).
 
Before considering sending an e-mail, read the following:

 

  • I don't do e-mail debate (and I don't read diatribes from non-Catholics trying to convince me that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon or what not).

  • I don't answer questions the answers to which can be found using the site's search engine.

  • I can't find out-of-print books for you.

  • I don't recommend religious orders or Mass locations, nor do I advise others as to which priestly fraternities to support. I can only offer this link that might help you find existing traditional Masses.

  • I don't offer personal advice; I am certainly no guru and am undoubtedly not even close to being the best Catholic you know, or even a "good Catholic" at all. I just teach; that's my one gift.

  • Constructive criticism and, especially, corrections from respectful people are most welcome. If you still want to send an e-mail, use this address (and know that I am notoriously slow in responses; I'm awful that way!):

Tracy: Tracy@FishEaters.com

 

About the art on the front page...

The "Fish Eaters" header on the front page was made by the wonderful Catholic artist, Daniel Mitsui (see his website and his blog, both of which will open in new browser windows). I just love the symbolism of the fish (ICHTHYS) "crucified," and how the red adds just the right touch of color in the right places. If you would like to see it close-up, click here for a 2003X359 version of the banner.

Mr. Mitsui always does beautiful work, and I urge support for his efforts and for the efforts of all great Catholic artists -- musicians, sculptors, painters, etc.! We need more!


 

How do I properly cite this website?

To properly cite a website, use the form:

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Title of Website Page. [Online] Available URL, Date of Access

Using this site's page on Twelfth Night as an example, a citation for this website would look like the following, with appropriate date substituted:

Tucciarone, Tracy. Twelfth Night. [Online] Available http://www.fisheaters.com/epiphanyeve.html, July 30, 2006.

 
  
Marta-Pie, my Immortal Beloved Who is Marta?

Marta Maddalena is my girl kitty-puss and the mascot of this place. Her name pops up all the time at the discussion forum as she is the Queen of All Felines. (BTW, for some interesting medieval Catholic fun regarding cats, see Pangur Ban off the Catholics and the Animal World page!)

The site not only has a mascot, but a theme song, too, which you can download here (mp3): Fats Waller singing "Hold Tight" -- a crazy old song chosen for quite obvious reasons!

 
  
Site Patrons

There are simply too many Saints I love to pick just one, so I call on all of my special favorites to pray for this site and for all who visit here. His will be done! SS John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary Magdalen, Martha, the Magi, Luke, John, Helena, Ephraem, Walburga, Gertrude, Hildegard, Albert the Great, Francis, Clare, Anthony of Padua, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, Joan, Don Bosco, Mother Cabrini, Therese of Lisieux, Pius X, Michael, Black Elk (not a canonized Saint, but a fellow Catholic and personal patron), and all of my ancestors in Purgatory or Heaven: with Our Queen, pray for us!

  
 
Footnote:
1
The picture of good Queen Marie Antoinette is here as a joke. Monarchists wrote to warn that people actually still believe the Revolutionary propaganda that Marie Antoinette was a frivolous woman who disregarded the poor and such. For a correction to such slander, see this page offsite. For more on monarchy as a form of government, see Theodore Harvey's site, "Royalty and Monarchy" (links will open in new browser window so you can easily return here).

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