Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Fish on Fridays

By Leila Marie Lawler ( articles ) | Feb 04, 2008

You don’t have to be a Catholic, no. But the reason people in Wisconsin have this really fun thing to do is because a bunch of people, at one time, were Catholic, and just lived their lives with their families as Catholics, and now there is something that means being from Wisconsin and loving beer and remembering what it’s like to give something up and get something in return, something you weren’t looking for but kind of love – a tradition.

The family in the photo looks sweet and happy (not like they’re in a commercial, just like they are comfortable), and they are having a good time in a nice place, eating food that is probably pretty good. They don’t have to be Catholic, as the headline states – it’s not clear from the story if they are or not.

Some people think that culture is something super refined that you find in a museum, like a big oil painting, and some people think that it’s something you think hard about and get a government grant for, like learning liturgical dance. Actually, culture is the deeply satisfying stuff that “we have always done” – and it comes, unawares, from people either celebrating or, interestingly, not celebrating (like giving up meat on Fridays). If you think I’m wrong spend a minute thinking about what you admire about other cultures.

When things are done the same way for a long time, with families (meaning that somehow everyone from children to old people have to find their place), that’s when you get traditions, and that’s when you get a culture.

Now maybe a fish fry isn’t everyone’s idea of culture, but I’m getting a little wistful reading about this, and proud that Catholics gave this little bit of meaningfulness to the people of Wisconsin (especially because you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy it), and wondering what our present loophole-finding approach to religion will leave the next generation, in the way of fun.

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