Capybara is Fish According to the Catholic Church

Let’s dive into the fascinating tale of the capybara, the world’s largest rodent that was once classified as a fish by none other than the Catholic Church in the 1500s. Why, you ask? So its delectable meat could be savored on Fridays during Lent, of all things. But in case you’re scratching your head, the capybara is definitely not a fish.

The capybara is, in fact, a bona fide rodent. Picture a beaver without a tail, and you’re on the right track. It’s got no gills, and it’s certainly lacking in the fin department. While some folks have whimsically dubbed it a “water pig,” it’s primarily because these gentle creatures spend a good chunk of their lives in the water, munching on plants and grasses.

However, the capybara does have a few aquatic tricks up its sleeve. For instance, it can hold its breath underwater for up to five minutes when evading potential predators. It even boasts webbed feet, which, if you squint, might seem a bit fishy. Yet, let’s make it clear—the capybara is, by all scientific accounts, a rodent and not a fish.

Now, let’s rewind to the time when the Catholic Church found itself in a peculiar culinary conundrum. Somewhere between the 1500s and the 1700s, Venezuelan clergymen gazed upon the capybara’s unique attributes and hatched an audacious plan. They petitioned the Vatican, seeking a special exemption from the “no meat on Fridays during Lent” rule. Their argument? Capybaras lived in water, had webbed feet, and even tasted somewhat like fish. A rather compelling case, wouldn’t you say?

The Vatican responded with an astonishing decree: They would indeed make an exception. But instead of recognizing the capybara for what it was—a gigantic aquatic rodent—it was to be classified as a fish for the purpose of Lenten dietary restrictions. Yes, you read that correctly. The Catholic Church officially declared the capybara’s meat as fair game on those holy Fridays.

Now, gazing at a capybara, I’m certain you’d be hard-pressed to spot any fishy attributes. However, the annals of Lenten history are brimming with curious exemptions. Just consider that if St. Patrick’s Day coincides with a Friday during Lent, the faithful are granted the divine privilege of indulging in corned beef. Talk about divine culinary diplomacy!

So, the ultimate question remains: Would you ever dare to savor the meat of the capybara? An intriguing culinary adventure, no doubt, and a testament to the quirks of history and faith.