Can Catholics Eat Shellfish?

Can Catholics Eat Shellfish?

You are probably here because you are about to eat shellfish or perhaps just curious, whatever your reason, in this blog post, we will discuss one of the most frequent questions, Can Catholics eat Shellfish?

What is Shellfish

Before we deep dive into our topic question, let’s tackle first what shellfish is.

Shellfish are animals with shell or shell-like exteriors that dwell in water.

They can be classified into two groups, crustaceans and mollusks.

Some examples of crustaceans are shrimp, crab, and lobster, while oysters, scallops, and clams for mollusks.

Biblical Reference

This is particular verse is may be the reason why you want to know if Catholics can eat shellfish.

“Of the various creatures that live in the water, you may eat the following: whatever in the seas or in river waters that has both fins and scales you may eat. But of the creatures that swarm in the water or of animals that otherwise live in the water, whether in the sea or in the rivers, all those that lack either fins or scales are loathsome for you, and shall always be loathsome to you. Their meat you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall loathe. Every water creature that lacks fins or scales is loathsome for you.”

Leviticus 11:9-12

On contrary, Jesus clarify this in the following passage.

“He said to them, Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine? (Hence he declared all foods clean.) But what comes out of a person, that is what defiles.”

Matthew 7:18-20

The prohibition of eating shellfish and other meat from animals like pig and horse is under Mosaic Law. Jesus abolished this as mentioned in the above passage (Matthew 7:18-20)

This was also backed up by the vision of St. Peter in the Act of the Apostles.

“The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat. But Peter said, Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean. The voice spoke to him again, a second time, What God has made clean, you are not to call profane. This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.”

Acts 10:9-16

Additionally, St. Paul in his letters seconded it in the following verses.

“The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him.”

Romans 14:3

These scriptural references just prove that Catholics can eat anything now. This gives us the freedom to eat without the fear that it would be sinful.

Eating Shellfish

Now, let’s answer the question.

Can Catholics eat Shellfish?

Yes, Catholics can eat shellfish. Christ abolished the specific ban on food that’s why the Catholic Church allows its faithful to eat whatever food they want to eat without restrictions.


There you have it!

We, Catholics can eat shellfish and whatever food we want to eat. Despite the freedom, it is also should be noted that eating too much can cause us to sin. That’s why we still have to be mindful if it is good for our body and our soul.

May we all thank God for the gift of food.

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