A sign
Representation. A sign for an alligator burger. kkimpel550/Pixabay


  • Alligators can be eaten during Lenten fasts since they are considered seafood
  • New Orleans archbishop Gregory Aymond claimed in a letter from 2010
  • The letter has gone viral online after being posted on a Facebook group

Christians can eat alligators during Lent, a Louisiana priest said in a letter from nearly 13 years ago that has recently gone viral online.

New Orleans archbishop Gregory Aymond claimed in 2010 while responding to a Covington resident who had asked him whether or not it was acceptable to eat the animals during the annual Lenten season.

Catholics are obliged to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and several other religious days covered by the 40-day period, which started Wednesday and will end on April 6 this year.

In a letter dated March 3, 2010, Aymond clarified that it was acceptable to eat alligator during Lent because it "is considered [to be part of] the fish family."

"God has created a magnificent creature that is important to the state of Louisiana, and it is considered seafood," the archbishop, who has held his post since 2009, said.

Despite Aymond's claims, American alligators are not fish and they are instead classified as reptiles, according to Louisiana's own Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Aymond's letter has since gone viral after being posted on the Facebook group NOLA A.F. Wednesday.

"What about turtle? I sure could use some Turtle soup," one user commented on the post, which has been shared around 1,700 times.

"No, thank you. Archbishop can have my portion. I don't eat reptiles," another person wrote.

Aymond's letter made headlines in 2013 when Catholic News Agency covered it.

At the time, the outlet cited the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in explaining the New Orleans archbishop's rationale for considering the alligator a fish.

"Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals, such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs – all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat... Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted," the organization said on its website.

Alligator meat is supposedly not included in the Lenten ban since alligators are cold-blooded.

Other reptiles like turtles, snakes and tortoises may also be consumed on Fridays during Lent.

Foods such as chicken broth, meat gravies or sauces "as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden" too, according to the USCCB.

Representation. An alligator. ataribravo99/Pixabay