Detroit-area Catholics can eat meat on Lenten Fridays... but only a certain kind

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 1:04 PM EDT
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Roman Catholics in the Detroit area get a reprieve from their obligation to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. But only to dine on a certain rodent.

The Archdiocese of Detroit says a long-standing permission dating to the region's missionary history in the 1700s allows local Catholics to eat muskrat "on days of abstinence, including Fridays of Lent."

The Rev. Tim Laboe says settlers probably had little in the way of a protein source, other than the muskrat, during the harsh Michigan winters.

The custom is especially prevalent in communities along the river, south of Detroit, where Laboe was raised. He says he's heard people say the marsh-dwelling critter tastes like duck, but he disagrees.

Laboe says muskrat "tastes great" and can't be compared "to anything else."

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