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Meat, Facebook or olives: What did you give up for Lent?
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | March 7, 2007 | RICHARD 'DOPEY' ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist

Posted on 03/07/2007 4:24:40 AM PST by Chi-townChief

Back in the day when virtually every Catholic kid and teenager gave up meat on Fridays for Lent, there were always a couple of holier-than-Richie types who took it to the next level. They'd give up Dr Pepper. Or watching "Happy Days." Or listening to the soundtrack for "Saturday Night Fever."

Real sacrifices of the time.

These days, how much of a sacrifice is it to give up meat on Fridays? There are millions upon millions of Catholics who don't even eat meat anyway. For them, abstaining from burgers, pork chops and steaks is about as difficult as giving up cigarettes, olives and scotch would be for me.

(Olives! How can you people eat those things!? But that's a story for another time.)

Even if you love a good pulled-pork sandwich chased with a bratwurst and it's going to hurt to give them up, there are so many more non-meaty choices in 2007 than there were a few decades ago. Whether you're cooking at home, living in a restaurant-filled neighborhood in the city or cruising suburbia, you have access to literally hundreds of tasty meat-free dishes. Back in the meat-and-potatoes era, sushi was not an option for the average resident of Calumet City or Rogers Park or Back of the Yards.

If the idea is to sacrifice something as a way of identifying with the infinitely greater sacrifices made by Jesus -- and that basically is the idea -- then you should give up something that really matters, right? Something you'll truly miss during Lent.

Like Facebook.

I'll text you when it's over The Baltimore Sun reports that instead of abstaining from favorite junk foods, some high school and college students are giving up their techno-addictions for Lent. "Facebook fasting is the penance of choice for some college students this Lenten season, which ends April 8, Easter Sunday," says the story.

"Others have sworn off MySpace, AOL Instant Messenger and similar semi-addictive Internet outlets, all in the spirit of intensified religious devotion that precedes Easter."

OK, semi-addictive? I don't think so. There's no "semi" in these habits.

The article rightly notes that giving up something like Facebook for nearly six weeks is a pretty big deal.

"The site, where friends track birthdays, post pictures, check homework, monitor romances and generally gossip, has become the connective tissue of undergraduate life, and ignoring it from Ash Wednesday to Easter is no small sacrifice."

Let's put it this way. If you were to have made an equivalent sacrifice in, say, 1975, it would have meant attending class but avoiding the Student Union or other gathering places, never using the phone and basically cutting off all free-time contact with your friends and classmates.

It'd be like going into an isolation tank for 40 days and 40 nights.

Lent: It's not just for kids Not that techno-addictions are confined to adolescents and teenagers. It's funny when parents go on and on about how their kids are tethered to their cell phones and their instant messaging -- and these parents are telling these stories while constantly checking their Blackberrys and monitoring their cell phone messages, lest they miss whatever it is they're concerned about not missing. I just finished a bit of a traveling marathon, during which I took a dozen flights over a 35-day period. It used to be that you couldn't turn on your cell phone or PDA until you had exited the aircraft, but now you can activate your communication device when the plane lands -- so the moment the wheels touch ground, virtually every adult on the plane automatically reaches for the wireless communication device. You could choreograph it to music -- 150 grown-ups powering up their cell phones and PDAs in almost perfect unison.

Does everybody have a job or a family situation that requires one to be in communication with the outside world the moment a plane lands? My God, how did we survive in the olden days, when you had to wait to get off the plane to use your phone?

Lent me your ears Whether you're 12 or 22 or 66, if you're giving up something beyond meat for Lent this year, I'd like to hear your story. If you're giving up e-mail, please don't resort to the telephone -- just send me a letter.

That's l-e-t-t-e-r. If you don't know what it is, you can look it up on Wikipedia.

Unless you're giving up Wikipedia for Lent. In that case, ask someone over 25.

And by the way -- it's a sin to give up the Sun-Times for Lent. The pope told me.

mailto:rroeper@suntimes.com


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: ashwednesday; chicago; christianity; easter; goodfriday; lent; religion
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Obviously, giving up FR is NOT an option.
1 posted on 03/07/2007 4:24:42 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief

pigbodies and reese's cups.


2 posted on 03/07/2007 4:27:19 AM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it full of something for you)
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To: Chi-townChief

I alternate between giving up all sweets (even sweetened yogurt, just plain :-P) and giving up all internet browsing except banking. Giving up the internet is harder.


3 posted on 03/07/2007 4:27:26 AM PST by Eepsy (The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.)
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To: Chi-townChief

The Boston Celtics...although this year that probably doesn't count.


4 posted on 03/07/2007 4:29:57 AM PST by mainepatsfan
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To: Chi-townChief

I continued my head cheese fast.


5 posted on 03/07/2007 4:31:15 AM PST by kinoxi
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To: Chi-townChief

All brands of soda. I think I've drank more bottles of water in the past few weeks than I have in the past year.


6 posted on 03/07/2007 4:32:14 AM PST by RabidBartender
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To: Chi-townChief

I was wondering if any Catholic Freepers gave up FR for six weeks. I'm trying not to eat dinner. Stick to two meals a day and hopefully lose some tonnage. So far, it's been 50-50. I'm not a good Catholic.


7 posted on 03/07/2007 4:32:40 AM PST by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: kinoxi
Those are two words that don't even belong in the same sentence together.

Kind of like luncheon meat.
8 posted on 03/07/2007 4:35:17 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: bill1952
I bought a pre made sandwich from an unnamed grocery store that was labeled ham. The person that made that monstrosity is probably still laughing about it...
9 posted on 03/07/2007 4:40:23 AM PST by kinoxi
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To: Chi-townChief
Back in the day when virtually every Catholic kid and teenager gave up meat on Fridays for Lent, there were always a couple of holier-than-Richie types who took it to the next level.

Um, "back in the day" Catholic kids and teenagers from observant families didn't eat meat on any Friday throughout the year, and fasted on Ash Wednesday and Friday's in Lent, as well.

Any Lenten sacrifice was in addition to "giving up" meat on Fridays.

10 posted on 03/07/2007 4:40:27 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: 7thson; Eepsy

I always give up sweets and eating between meals - it was more difficult at my old job about 10 years ago. I sat next to a couple of "born again" guys who considered it great fun to eat doughnuts while making loud eating noises every morning. It was annoying as hell but pretty funny at the same time.


11 posted on 03/07/2007 4:45:01 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Gamecock

I gave up Works-based Salvation!


12 posted on 03/07/2007 5:01:12 AM PST by ItsOurTimeNow ("All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.")
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

It always struck me as peculiar that one would ostensibly go to Hell for eating beans-and-franks on Friday, but chowing-down on shrimp cocktail and a lobster was no problem whatsoever.


13 posted on 03/07/2007 5:03:44 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: Chi-townChief
What is a "Facebook"?
14 posted on 03/07/2007 5:05:59 AM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: Chi-townChief

I always give up eating liver.


15 posted on 03/07/2007 5:08:04 AM PST by Diverdogz
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To: Chi-townChief

I believe Lent is not only for temporary "deprivation", but to be meaningful it should make real ongoing changes in our lives. One year, I gave up hard liquor for Lent, and now, several years later, I rarely drink it at all.

This year, it's red meat, of which I am far too fond, and I think that will be the same kind of permanent alteration in my habits.


16 posted on 03/07/2007 5:08:52 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: TXnMA

"What is a Facebook?"

Is there a reason that reading the article was completely out of the question? The answer is easily found there.


17 posted on 03/07/2007 5:10:40 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: DuncanWaring

LOL - well, "The Lord works His Will in Wond'rous Ways!"


18 posted on 03/07/2007 5:11:22 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: linda_22003

I bet literally hundreds of thousands have given up smoking that way.


19 posted on 03/07/2007 5:12:39 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday is still the norm for adults. And abstaining from meat on Fridays is still the primary form of penance on Fridays:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4O.HTM


20 posted on 03/07/2007 5:12:57 AM PST by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

I think Dopey is a bit too young to remember that as well as full fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday or abstaining on Christmas Eve or no eating after midnight before Communion.


21 posted on 03/07/2007 5:15:05 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: DuncanWaring
I've often wondered about that myself. What is the difference between chicken meat and fish meat?

For the record, I've given up my favorite food: peanut butter.

22 posted on 03/07/2007 5:16:47 AM PST by Ax ("An action transferred is an action completed.")
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To: Chi-townChief

Yeah...me too. I give up olives.


23 posted on 03/07/2007 5:18:31 AM PST by Fawn (http://www.hartzvictims.org/)
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To: DuncanWaring

Well, the idea was a historical one about sacrifice.

However, nowadays when one can have "lobster ravioli" or "orange roughy francaise", I would agree that that doesn't qualify as much of a sacrifice.

Although I can assure you that while I was growing up, my mother wasn't making shrimp cocktail and lobster thermador on Friday nights. Fridays most often meant fish sticks, and that certainly qualified as a sacrifice in my book. We were ecstatic when my parents were too tired on a Friday and we got a cheese pizza.


24 posted on 03/07/2007 5:20:44 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: siunevada

Yep, I'm aware of that.


25 posted on 03/07/2007 5:24:49 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: Chi-townChief

I gave up visiting any thread with "Rudy" or "Duncan" in the title.


26 posted on 03/07/2007 5:25:50 AM PST by Fresh Wind (Vaclav Klaus: "A whip of political correctness strangles their voice")
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To: ItsOurTimeNow; Gamecock
Works-based Salvation

Good luck finding anyone that will tell you that fasting will save you.

One fasts for a variety of reasons. To make real the thought that the things of this world are not the most important things might be one reason.

27 posted on 03/07/2007 5:26:11 AM PST by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: Chi-townChief

I gave up cursing. That stuff's gotta stop...


28 posted on 03/07/2007 5:27:22 AM PST by OKSooner
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

At my house, it was beans and macaroni every Friday (of course, it was that way most of the year.) Christmas Eve was spaghetti with the baccala sauce.


29 posted on 03/07/2007 5:32:10 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

Fish sticks on Friday? Blech! Pass the ketchup.

It could have been worse. We could have grown up Orthodox. They do some no-kiddin'-around fasting for Lent.


30 posted on 03/07/2007 5:34:01 AM PST by siunevada (If we learn nothing from history, what's the point of having one? - Peggy Hill)
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To: PBRSTREETGANG

fish stix, cheese pizza, tuna pizza, tuna noodle casserole. And it was every Friday when I was a kid.


31 posted on 03/07/2007 6:06:19 AM PST by Mercat
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To: 7thson
I haven't posted in quite some time - but I wanted to answer your question. About 4 - 5 years ago - I did give up FR for Lent. Well - I gave up all but 1/2 hour a day of FR for Lent. It was extremely difficult. But - I did it!!

This year I gave up chocolate - I think giving up FR was harder - and I am a real chocoholic!!

32 posted on 03/07/2007 6:10:44 AM PST by MasonGal
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To: linda_22003
For those of you in Rio Linda:

"What is a Facebook?"

</SARCASM>

Did your personal Facebook addiction destroy your sense of humor?

33 posted on 03/07/2007 6:19:45 AM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: Chi-townChief

Gave up sweets of all types and the use of the f-bomb. The f-bomb was harder to give up than the sweets.


34 posted on 03/07/2007 6:28:47 AM PST by WolfRunnerWoman (Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.)
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To: TXnMA

It looked like a serious question.


35 posted on 03/07/2007 6:29:15 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: Chi-townChief

Coffee. Although my co-workers really wish I hadn't.


36 posted on 03/07/2007 6:29:45 AM PST by Hoodlum91 (I support global warming.)
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To: Mercat

Every Friday when I was a kid as well.


37 posted on 03/07/2007 6:31:23 AM PST by PBRSTREETGANG
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To: DuncanWaring
"It always struck me as peculiar that one would ostensibly go to Hell for eating beans-and-franks on Friday, but chowing-down on shrimp cocktail and a lobster was no problem whatsoever."

Keep in mind that pre-Vatican II meat was not permitted on Fridays throughout the year, and no meat was consumed at all during lent. One reason many European monasteries began to domesticate rabbits is that the young were considered fish until their hair grew in. Another interesting tidbit is that Spanish explorers to the New World considered manatee, "the fish that tasted like beef."

38 posted on 03/07/2007 6:35:02 AM PST by Joe 6-pack
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To: Mercat

gag! sounds familiar. and still goes on to this day, as i am torturing my kids with that same lenten friday menu : )


39 posted on 03/07/2007 6:35:43 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: Chi-townChief
I initially decided to give up chocolate (which I ate pretty much at least several times a day), and decided that I'd better make it all desserts, otherwise I figured I would just overload on non-chocolate treats.

And so far, it has been relatively easy. Though, when someone brings doughnuts in the office (I used to eat at least two), it's a little tough.

But the most important part of of my first Lent as a Catholic is increased prayer, and asking for the strength to resist temptation. I'm sure that has helped me tremendously these first couple weeks.

40 posted on 03/07/2007 6:37:18 AM PST by TravisBickle (Are you talkin' to me?)
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To: xsmommy

I have to admit. Friday is date night and we always go out and I have been eating shrimp. No tuna salad on the Chili's menu. But it's what a friend of mine calls a God tap. It's stopping in our usual routine and remembering our Lord.


41 posted on 03/07/2007 7:09:34 AM PST by Mercat
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To: xsmommy

Fish sticks really ARE torture. I think they're the reason so many people grow up to dislike fish. :(


42 posted on 03/07/2007 7:12:04 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: linda_22003

actually my kids don't mind the shrimp poppers which are mostly breading anyway, and they are light years better than the fishsticks. they won't eat real fish, which i did grow up to love. they have problems with the texture of it. i can do real shrimp for them, but they aren't wild about those either. i think Kung Pao shrimp from PFChangs would do the trick though! it is a real drag trying to eat out on Fridays in lent, and my husband will NOT eat seafood.


43 posted on 03/07/2007 7:15:50 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: Chi-townChief

Nothing, Lent isn't in the bible.


44 posted on 03/07/2007 7:16:49 AM PST by DungeonMaster (Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”)
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To: xsmommy

I love fish and seafood of all descriptions, and fortunately got the "real thing" at home; fish sticks are mostly a bad memory from school lunches.

The one thing I couldn't quite face as a kid was lobster, and I remember my father trying to get me to eat in in a restaurant along with him - it was cheaper than the steak I preferred. That tells you what a LONG time ago this was. :)


45 posted on 03/07/2007 7:18:46 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: Mercat

i was talking to someone yesterday about Lent and she asked if i did the Sunday rule, meaning Sundays are a day off from the lenten sacrifice, i said NO, that's CHEATING, but i have heard people mention such a rule. i think it's bogus though and misses the point of lent. i have no problem going out and eating seafood, but my husband is an extremely picky eater and there would be nothing for him to eat out. i can't even begin to tell you how aberrant he is, he doesn't eat PIZZA [and he's italian...]


46 posted on 03/07/2007 7:18:51 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: xsmommy

I think it matters, even if it's a "free" day. If you're trying to do a mental and physical discipline, looking for loopholes doesn't seem the best way to go about it.

I have had friends whose husbands are "picky eaters" like that, and the kids pick it up from dad; I hope you won't have a problem with that. I'm such a dedicated cook that I don't think I could have married a man who was a picky, non-adventurous eater! His parents obviously tolerated it when he was a kid. :[


47 posted on 03/07/2007 7:21:19 AM PST by linda_22003
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To: linda_22003

i think the last time i ate lobster was when i was a kid and out with my family! i have no problem with it, but it isn't my fave so i wouldn't ever order it. i like salmon, tuna, swordfish, even some shark. i have offered my kids tastes of it and they will take a bite, but haven't really acquired a taste for it. they are not remotely as bad as their dad and i really can't complain as they eat a wide variety of things, generally. i fault my MIL [may she rest in peace] for coddling my husband and having him be so food-challenged. i swore my kids wouldn't be that way, and they aren't.


48 posted on 03/07/2007 7:23:44 AM PST by xsmommy
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To: DuncanWaring

i thought shellfish weren't supposed to be consumed at all?


49 posted on 03/07/2007 7:24:32 AM PST by absolootezer0 (stop repeat offenders - don't re-elect them!)
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To: linda_22003

i totally agree with you on the parents. as i said, i lay this at the feet of my mother-in-law! and my kids eat chinese, mexican, italian etc. Things their father wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole!


50 posted on 03/07/2007 7:25:05 AM PST by xsmommy
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