Monday, February 27, 2012

Time to snap mackerels again?


I was sitting at my sister Marguerite's bedside reading up on the history and traditions of Lent, and came across the actual canons that are still in force today regarding Fridays. It's pretty simple. See below.

I think we should go back to having no meat on Fridays.  As you can see, the canons never really went away, but for all practical purposes the bishops around the world were unsuccessful in teaching us how to recognize the traditional meaning of "the observance of fast and abstinence", and how "to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety."

Instead, a ton of Catholics (most?) just forgot about Friday's significance as a weekly day of penance completely.England is just about to go back to having the abstinence on Fridays restored not as one option among many, but as the acceptable option. We ought to follow suit:


  • Canon 1250 All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
  • Canon 1251 Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Canon 1252 All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
  • Canon 1253 It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
  • 1 comment:

    Easter Almuena said...

    Excellent post, Rae! I had Canon Law last year and our Church, in fact, still recognizes abstinence from meat every Friday of the year. Though not required, I still follow it and it gives me a good sense of "emptying" of the self. Traditional fast days of our Church, which some communities follow, and again, not required by our Church, are Wednesday and Friday of the full calendar year.

    God bless you for all you do! Love to you, dear sister in Christ!