Friday, February 22, 2008

Do You?

Do you abstain from meat on Fridays?

Not just during Lent, but the entire year?

Some form of Friday penance is mandated throughout the year by the USCCB.

This shocked me when I found out.

How about you?

On Penance and Abstinence

taken from the USCCB

For these and related reasons, the Catholic bishops of the United States, far from downgrading the traditional penitential observance of Friday, and motivated precisely by the desire to give the spirit of penance greater vitality, especially on Fridays, the day that Jesus died, urge our Catholic people henceforth to be guided by the following norms:

1. Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified;

2. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday be freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ;

3. Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations;

a. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity in Christ and his Church.

b. We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish. Every Catholic Christian understand that the fast and abstinence regulations admit of change, unlike the commandments and precepts of that unchanging divine moral law which the Church must today and always defend as immutable. This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation, traditionally binding, under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent. We stress this so that no scrupulosity will enter into examinations of conscience, confessions, or personal decisions on this point.


bilbannon said...

I do something every Friday since I was 7 years old but the meat thing is pointless to me since one can skip meat (which I do in Lent) can skip meat and enjoy stuffed trout almondine even more than the meat. That area is weird.
Heck...scallops in a shallot cream sauce is way better than a baloney sandwich. Where's the cross in that?
I do extra prayers. Try saying some prayers to saints on each hour strike and if you forget say 11AM....add those prayers to the next hour's.
Also I skip desert and liquor entirely some Fridays.

John Michael said...

Since you were 7! That is impressive.

I must agree with the fish. I really like eating fish. Now throw some onions and peppers on there and that would be penitential for me.

Joseph Fromm said...

John Michael,
I to was shocked when I found out out about "the every Friday, thing"! It's an awsome prayer of action. My wife and I plan our meals accordingly. Yes every once in a while we have a scallop and shallot type meal, but mostly its eggplant or an egg meal. Great post.