Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq.

1/18/2013 (2 years 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 (§ 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 (2 years 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 (§ 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Teen delivers powerful impromptu invocation during graduation commencement's unexpected emergency Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high school graduate stepped up to the podium during the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony and delivered a powerful prayer, after one woman had a medical emergency. The prayer moved the audience so much that his impromptu invocation was cheered for at ... continue reading


Catholic Priest warns participants of 'Charlie Charlie' Challenge summoning a demon is no joke Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Charlie, Charlie" Challenge is a game now infamous on social media that encourage players to summon a demon. According to a Mirror Online, a Catholic priest has issued a letter warning about the dangers involved with doing such a ritual, and that the challenge is ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


Pope Francis admits to giving up TV in 1990 Watch

Image of While being in the eye of the international media, Pope Francis has little time for media. He's just too busy, and pledged not to watch TV after a pledge to the Virgin Mary in 1990.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While frequently in the media's eye, Pope Francis in fact has little time for the media. After making a promise to the Virgin Mary, the Pope claims that he has not watched TV since 1990. He did not even watch the matches of his football team San Lorenzo de ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants to be remembered as 'good guy who tried to do good' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his brief time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done many remarkable things and has captured the world's attention. He came off as surprisingly humble in a recent interview with a fellow Argentinean journalist. Pope Francis says he ... continue reading


Catholics worldwide vow to get the word out on Pope Francis' message on climate change Watch

Image of Environmental advocates, working with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities, and lay movements hope that there will be a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will release his anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks. Over the past several years, more faith traditions have rallied behind environmental protection. Churches have begun to press ecological ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... continue reading


Brotherhood of the Belt: Struggle, Trouble and Failure in the Christian Life Watch

Image of The Martyrdom of Peter

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Peter's wrong choices were not the end of the story of Gods plan for his life. Peter's denial crippled Peter emotionally and spiritually. He lost his way. That was until he encountered the Risen Christ. There, in that encounter, he allowed the belt of ... continue reading


The Purpose of Pentecost is the Birth and Ongoing Mission of the Church

Image of The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption, to live as a new people to lead the world back to the Father, in and through the Son. Through their experience of the Holy Spirit the early ... continue reading


Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... 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, Sirach 36:5-6, 10-17
5 Send new portents, do fresh wonders, win glory for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 79:8, 9, 11, 13
8 Do not count against us the guilt of former ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:32-45
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 27th, 2015 Image

St. Augustine of Canterbury
May 27: At the end of the sixth century anyone would have said that ... 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