Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

Dicit ei Iesus, "Ego sum Via et Veritas et Vita; nemo venit ad Patrem nisi per Me"

About This Site 


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:

  • to fight to preserve the traditional Mass and all the other traditional Sacramental rites  

  • to 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  

  • to 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

Further, the site has as its purpose teaching Catholics how to practice Catholicism in the traditional way. The For Catholics section 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, the Institute of Christ the King, and the Society of St. Pius X.

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 --- encyclopedic, witty, and traditional, all done by an Italian-American housewife with a particular eye to the Church Year. Hours of fun!"

Note that the "Being Catholic" area of the site is like a twisty Parisian street, with many nooks and crannies, and tons of material buried in layers. The best way to read a page is to go through it, then go back over it and click the links.

Who made this site?

This 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" (1890):

15. ... 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 strives to 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, offerings from Circle Media, Inc. (publishers of the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family magazine), newspapers, and other such printed materials.

Is there a statement of faith associated with this site?

I affirm:

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 Antistitum.

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 be 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 Pontificum.

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 world in which individuals who don't quite fit the (natural!) norms are crammed tightly into boxes that don't fit them, 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 (well, Italian-American). It is firmly centered on the Incarnation and sees the common modern desire to "spiritualize" everything away as nothing short of the heresy of dualism.

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 attitudes.

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 here.

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 Eucharist!

Is there a book or CD version of this site?

No, sorry. Not yet anyway. Maybe someday! On the other hand, what makes FishEaters so effective is its heavy hyperlinking. A book couldn't duplicate that, so....

Linking Policy

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 holier-than-thou, unnecessarily divisive "he's one of them!" gang-banging mentalities. I write -- and link -- for the typically educated, reasonable person of average intelligence whom I 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 and very much needed for the support of the website and its writer. I have a heckuva time getting links and support and such, and refuse to paywall any material, so, if FishEaters has been any help to you, please help if you can! To lend a hand, go to the Donations Page. And know that because FishEaters is a 501c3 charity, donations are tax-deductible.

If you're unable to help financially, tell others about FishEaters, and link to it when it makes sense to do so! Or send me some feedback (see below)!


How can I contact the person who wrote this site?
Before contacting me, know that I don't do e-mail debate or read diatribes from non-Catholics trying to convince me that the Church is the Whore of Babylon or what not. I also don't offer personal advice; I'm 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.  :  

  • Email me at:

    TracyTucciarone AT yahoo DOT com

  • In case you want to send me a Christmas card or something, snail-mail me at:

    Tracy Tucciarone/FishEaters
    736 North Bosart Avenue
    Indianapolis, IN  46201  U.S.A.

  • Send feedback anonymously using this form.


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About the art on the front page...

The "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!

How do I properly cite this website?

To properly cite a website, use the form:

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Title of Website Page. [Online] Available URL, Date of Access

Using this site's page on Twelfth Night as an example, a citation for this website would look like the following, with appropriate date substituted:

Tucciarone, Tracy. Twelfth Night. [Online] Available, July 30, 2006.

  Who is Marta?

Marta 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..."

Marta-Pie, my Immortal Beloved
Marta, aka Marta 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)

(For some interesting medieval Catholic fun regarding cats, see Pangur Ban off the Catholics and the Animal World page.)

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 -- mostly 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. She loves her spa day "beauty treatments" (getting brushed), and being assured she is the most beautiful girl-cat in the house. That she is the only girl-cat in the house doesn't cross her walnut-sized brain:

Gutterball, aka Lady Clawley; Professor Weirdo;
Poodle-Goose; Sweet Pea; KiKi Mau-Mau

Update: My little brother also feeds stray cats (and birds: he cooks rice for them every day), and one came into his yard very pregnant, giving birth to a litter around Christmas 2022. After the babies were weaned, he brought one of them to me -- a little gray tabby tom whom I've named Bugsy Powers Sullivan (the latter two names come from Jimmy Cagney characters). Bugsy's a real love-cat and a seriously scrappy sneaky-snake. He likes throwing around a squeaky toy mouse, attacking his own tail, and trying to grab a feather dangling from the end of a stick ("feather sharpens iron"!). He's also given to sudden bursts of pursuing the invisible prey that apparently roam about the house at high rates of speed. Here he is looking dapper in a bow tie.

Bugsy Powers Sullvan, aka Bugz; Bugsy-Boy; Handsome;
Goofy; Goombah; Wee-Man; Kid; Buddy; Stable Genius;
Son; The Earl of Grey; Cat. James Cat;
The One and Only B-U-Double G (to the Z)

So now I have two indoor cats!

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 style":

The FishEaters
site has a theme song, which you can download here (mp3): Fats Waller singing "Hold Tight" -- a crazy old song chosen for obvious reasons.

Site Patrons

There 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; King St. Louis IX; Michael; Gennaro; Rocco, Rosalia; Lucia; Agatha; Agnes; Cecilia; 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!