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. FishEaters strives to do this by showing Protestants the
errors of Protestantism and by teaching Catholics to recognize what is
and isn't Catholic. FishEaters wishes to inspire Catholics to do all
in their power:
fight to preserve the traditional Mass and all the
other traditional Sacramental rites
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
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
the site has as its purpose teaching Catholics how
to practice Catholicism
in the traditional way. The For
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 Sir
Charles Coulombe describe it -- as a "[t]ruly amazing site ---
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?
site was written by me, just an old
Italian-American laywoman who wants nothing more than to teach others
per paragraphs 15 and 16 of Pope Leo XIII's "Sapientiae Christianae"
... 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
pass it on accurately. I encourage guests to read Catechisms, papal
documents, and other works to assure themselves of the site's accuracy.
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,
Circle Media, Inc. (publishers of the
National Catholic Register
Faith and Family magazine), newspapers, and other such
Is there a
statement of faith associated with this site?
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
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
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 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
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, 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
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
What does the
name "FishEaters" 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
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
See important footnote
about this picture
Is there a book
or CD version of this site?
No, sorry. Not yet anyway. Maybe someday!
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. 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 hosted at, say, a place like Commonweal. I
try to provide information from which I believe
all Catholics would benefit if they'd get over their
divisive "he's one of them!"
mentalities. I write -- and link -- for the typically educated,
reasonable person of average intelligence
trust has read a few Catechisms and has some sort of clue as to how to
separate the wheat from the chaff.
Do you accept donations?
Donations are gratefully accepted for the support
of the website and its forum. Visit this
page to learn
how to lend a hand.
can I contact the person who wrote this site?
questions about Catholicism and Tradition, for polemics, etc., use
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:
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
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
recommend searching for "Latin Mass locater" to find traditional Masses
offered near you.
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.
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!):
AT yahoo DOT com
To mail something, use this
736 North Bosart Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46201 U.S.A.
the art on the front page...
"FishEaters" header on the front page was made by the wonderful
Catholic artist, Daniel Mitsui (see his website, 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!
do I properly cite this website?
properly cite a website, use the form:
Last Name, Author's First Name. Title of Website Page. [Online]
Available URL, Date of Access
this site's page on Twelfth
Night as an example, a citation for this website would look
like the following, with appropriate date substituted:
Night. [Online] Available
http://www.fisheaters.com/epiphanyeve.html, July 30, 2006.
Maddalena is my girl kitty-puss and the mascot of this place. Update:
Marta died on July 5, 2021, after giving me eighteen years of
friendship. She is so very missed...To paraphrase Led Zeppelin, "ain't
no ole Marta gonna happen again..."
Pie; Love Cat; Chicken;
My Marta, My Love; Puss-Puss; Her Ladyship;
Needle-Toes; Princess Tiny-Teeth; Beauty; Pickle-puss;
the Pompapuss of Luv; Marta-Darling; Boojee-Cat.
And when she's bad: Wormbag;
Mean Marta Mustard (She's a Mean Old Cat)
interesting medieval Catholic fun regarding cats, see Pangur Ban off the Catholics
and the Animal World
Update: Since Marta's death, I've made an indoor cat out of one of the
many strays who come around begging every day for food (help
feed them and the birds -- a gazillion hungry sparrows -- here through
the FishEaters Amazon Wish List).
Meet Gutterball (the tiara isn't
real; I added it in a graphics program. I assure you, no cats were
harmed in the making of this photograph). She got her name from a
neighbor, with whom I was laughing about how the cat would hide in the
storm drain in front of my house. She went from little orphaned
sewer-kitty to queen of the domain:
aka Lady Clawley; Professor Weirdo;
Poodle-Goose; KiKi Mau-Mau
An Extra or Two
I got to play around with the DALL-E image generator. Here's what it
came up with the prompt "Fish -- some of them wearing mantillas --
attending a traditional Latin Mass in Gothic church, in a Renaissance
site has a theme song, which you can
download here (mp3):
Fats Waller singing "Hold Tight" -- a crazy old song chosen for obvious
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; Thomas Aquinas; Francis;
Clare; Anthony of Padua; Julian of Norwich; Catherine of Siena; Joan;
Don Bosco; Mother
Cabrini; Therese of Lisieux; my grandfather, King St. Louis IX;
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!
1 The picture of Marie Antoinette is
here as a joke. I know well that Queen Marie has been horribly
slandered by revolutionaries and never uttered the "let them eat cake"
line (actually, it was supposed to have been "qu'ils mangent de la
brioche," but that was a lie, too). Poor Marie!