Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

1/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As for me and my house, I stand with the French, with Belloc, with Chesterton and with the entire weight of Christianity and Catholic wisdom, and with the Lord, St. Peter, and St. Paul. There is nothing wrong with the pig (nor, one might add, some good wine).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (ž 582) states: "Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation," essentially abrogating the restrictions, or, perhaps better deepening their meaning, as inconsequential in the light of the Gospel which deals not with matters of the stomach, but with matters of the heart.

Highlights

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Islam, pig, Belloc, Chesterton, dietary restrictions


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - Towards the end of his marvelous travelogue and curious recount of his pilgrimage to Rome entitled The Path to Rome, Hilaire Belloc wrote about a black-haired Italian peasant driving a two-wheeled cart, whom Belloc hailed while taking a break from his pilgrimage and eating some sausage and drinking seated on a small wall in the vicinity of Lake Bolsena. 

The peasant stopped beside Belloc, and Belloc resolved to take the cart, though it violated his vow never to take a wheeled thing on his pilgrimage to Rome (that is, if one followed the strict letter of the vow). 

The two had a grand old time.  The Italian sang songs in his Italian, and Belloc sang songs, I'm sure in both English and French, in return.  They did not understand each other he says, yet "there was wine in common between us, and salami and a merry heart," remembered Belloc.  He recalled it as "a good drive, an honest drive, a human aspiring drive, a drive of Christians, a glorifying and uplifted drive, a drive worthy of remembrance for ever."

We might be sure that part of the marvel of this part of Belloc's journey was due to the Catholic faith which bound the two travelers, but also that part of the mystique might be attributed to the wine and the salami shared between the simple Italian peasant and the educated Balliol man. 

Belloc gave, in fact, a theological justification for it: "And what is more," Belloc observes, "by drinking wine and eating pig we proved ourselves no Mohammedans; and on such as he is sure of, St. Peter looks with a kindly eye."

Drinking wine and eating salami were symbols of the reality which lies behind the Catholic Christian creed so perfectly put by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians:  "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."  We are free of the impediments of dietary restrictions so as to be free for the greater things.

It is part of what makes a Catholic culture a Catholic culture.  The Ayatollah Khomeni is reputed to have said during a radio show: "Allah did not create man so that he could have fun. . . . There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious."  I am convinced that the Ayatollah says this because he thinks that God forbids him wine and bacon.

Ayatollah Khomeni's view of life is an incomprehensible sentiment to the Catholic, in particular one as ebullient and full of the joie de vivre as Belloc, who sees the world and all that is in it (except the sin)--in the main, with all its flaws, and despite the suffering--as good and worthy of celebration!  As he wrote in some doggerel:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There's always laughter and good red wine. 
At least I've always found it so. 

Benedicamus Domino!

Belloc could also have added something about salami, and, with his leave, I'll amend his doggerel to add it:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There's always salami and wine,
At least I've always found it so. 
Benedicamus Domino!


The French have a saying--of which, I'm sure Belloc was not unaware and would totally agreed, inasmuch as he loved bacon as well as his salami--Tout est bon dans le cochon Everything is good about the pig.  This is a Catholic truth, because the Catholic knows that God made the pig, and all things that God has made are good.

Belloc's good friend, G. K. Chesterton, had a few good things to say about the pig.  This stands to reason since they usually saw eye to eye:

"To begin with," Chesterton wrote in an article in the Illustrated London News, "pigs are very beautiful animals. . . .  The actual lines of a pig (I mean of a really fat pig) are among the loveliest and most luxuriant in nature; the pig has the same great curves, swift and yet heavy, which we see in the rushing water or in rolling cloud." 

Of the main bodies of monotheists in the world, it is only the Christian that can say such a thing.  For both the Jew and the Muslim, the pig is an impure thing.

 "The pig," it says in Leviticus, "which does indeed have hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud and is therefore unclean for you."  (Leviticus 11:6-7)

As if the prohibition were not enough, Deuteronomy repeats the dietary restriction: "The pig, which indeed has hoofs and is cloven-footed, but does not chew the cud and is therefore unclean for you.  Their flesh you shall not eat, and their dead bodies you shall not touch."  (Deuteronomy 14:8)

Jesus, of course, famously taught that food and drink did not render a man unclean, as food--whatever the food may be--does not enter into his heart, but only into his belly, and that "goeth out in the privy," as the Douay Rheims delicately puts it.

In this, the Gospel says, Jesus declared all foods clean thereby declaring that the Jewish law was not an absolute way to God, but was merely pedagogical.  And now that the Way was here, there was no longer need for the way that pointed to the Way. 

Jesus, with the authority of God himself, purged all foods from any hint of uncleanness or impurity.  Purgans omnes escas.  (Mark 7:9)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (ž 582) states: "Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation," essentially abrogating the restrictions, or, perhaps better, deepening their meaning as inconsequential in the light of the Gospel which deals not with matters of the stomach, but with matters of the heart.

In short, you can eat pig, or hog, or swine, or boar.  Just don't be a pig, or a hog, or a swine, or a boar.  Overindulgence, greed, moral impurity, and violence are proscribed by the law of Christ, not the eating of God's good meat.

Customs die hard.  It seems that even in St. Peter, the Jewish dietary customs had to be drilled out of him by a vision at Jaffa in which he saw a large sheet being let down by animals held unclean--we may be sure the included the pig--and he was told to slaughter and eat.  "Certainly not, Lord.  For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean."  But the Voice insisted: "What God has made clean," and that can have reference only to Jesus and his teaching, "you are not to call profane."  (Acts 10:13-15)
 
St. Paul, who had to remind St. Peter of the Lord's view on diet, warned the early Christians to avoid those who depart from the faith, give heed to "deceitful spirits" and "demonic instructions" through the "hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences."  Part of what might be expected from such disreputable fellows, St. Paul warns, are supposed claims to divine commands that "require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."  (1 Tim. 4:1-3)

This includes the pig.  God bless the pig!  Let us, who know the truth, receive the pig as did Belloc and Chesterton, with thanksgiving.  Benedicamus Domno pro sus!

The Christian knows what any Frenchman knows: tout est bon dans le cochon!  We have St. Paul's word for it! 

The supposed prophet of the Muslims, Muhammad--alas--darkened the life of his followers by prohibiting them from eating pigs, and reversing thereby Christ's enlightening teaching that we do not get to God through our stomachs but with our hearts. 

Instead of tout est bon dans le cochon--which is the Lord's joyful teaching--we have rien est bon dans le cochon, nothing is good about the pig, the dour Islamic teaching reflected in the thoughts of Ayatollah Khomeni.

"He hath only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah."  Qur'an 2:173

(There is, for the sake of completeness, a necessity defense to this Islamic prohibition, but this is a very grudging allowance by Allah.  Allah is clearly not happy about it.) 

As for me and my house, I stand with the French, with Belloc, with Chesterton and with the entire weight of Christianity and Catholic wisdom, and with the Lord, St. Peter, and St. Paul.  There is nothing wrong with the pig (nor, one might add, some good wine).

And as a scriptural coda, let us turn to St. Paul's marvelous epistle to the Romans and remind ourselves that the "kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by others."  (Rom. 14:17-18)

In our pilgrimage of life, let us focus on that bigger thing of serving Christ and being pleasing to God and loving to our neighbor, and then eat anything you like, particularly the pig.

-----

Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He is married with three children.  He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum.  You can contact Andrew at agreenwell@harris-greenwell.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus: Love to The End Watch

Image of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: The Little Flower

By F. K. Bartels

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I ... continue reading


Tough Lessons for Real Life from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job was right. He was living in the heart of God's will. When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake. Jobs fair-weather friends told him that his loss and difficulties were his fault, but Job knew better. In his unwavering hope in God's love and mercy we find the example of purified, living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake, for Love's ... continue reading


Interesting facts about the 400 years old Bom Jesus Church in India, the final resting place of St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is more than 400 years old.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Located in Old Goa, India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the ... continue reading


Bombing Islamic State is fueling the violence

Image of Civilians inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Allied airstrikes in Syria. We cannot bomb our way into the hearts of people.

By Tony Magliano

We need to do something! With the barbaric Islamic State now controlling large portions of Iraq and Syria, and inflicting rape, torture and even beheading on those who do not conform to their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, it is imperative that they must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis to try case of pedophile archbishop in Vatican court Watch

Image of Former archbishop and ambassador Josef Wesolowski is under  arrest at the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will try one of its own for child abuse. After decades, possibly centuries of abuse and cover up, the use of the Church has a cover for pedophiles has finally ended. Former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will now face trial for abusing boys he met ... continue reading


Pope Francis says to listen to God's word and put it into practice Watch

Image of During his homily at daily, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what He has to say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Pope Francis, living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. "These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more," the ... continue reading


Pope Francis appoints five women to major theological council Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has been critical on the Catholic Church's failures to adequately include women in theological discourse, has appointed five to a major theological council that is charged with aiding the pope and others with theological policy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Theological Commission, established in 1969 to study doctrinal issues faced by the Catholic Church and to help the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has just received five new female members, raising the number of female ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter