Skip to comments.The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence
Posted on 02/19/2004 9:49:26 PM PST by Salvation
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Is it a mortal sin to eat more than the church requires on those two days?
I would have no idea -- ask your priest.
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Thank you! Bumping for later...
Gratitude to you for bumping the thread.
Bump for Lent!
As a teen, I recall our Parish had a Mission every Lent done by the Redemptorists. I have one of their Mission prayer books and it is at least 40 years old. I still remember those magnificent mini-retreats each night to a packed Church with confessions afterwards. I recall the priests stayed as late as 4:00 AM and rescued many a fallen soul.
April 02, 2004
Meat On Lenten Fridays: A Mortal Sin?
A common question at this time of year is whether or not deliberately violating the law of abstinence is a mortal sin. It is. The relevant law is found in Paul VI's 1966 apostolic constitution Paenitemini, which provides that:
The time of Lent preserves its penitential character. The days of penitence to be observed under obligation through-out the Church are all Fridays and Ash Wednesday, that is to say the first days of "Grande Quaresima" (Great Lent), according to the diversity of the rite. Their substantial observance binds gravely [Norm II §1, emphasis added].
That the keeping of abstinence (and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) is part of the substantial observance of these days is evident from the fact that the second half of Norm II names this as the chief requirement of observing these days:
Apart from the faculties referred to in VI and VIII regarding the manner of fulfilling the precept of penitence on such days, abstinence is to be observed on every Friday which does not fall on a day of obligation, while abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday or, according to local practice, on the first day of 'Great Lent' and on Good Friday [Norm II §2, emphasis added].
The faculties mentioned "regarding the manner of fulfilling the precept of penitence on such days" have to do with the ability of pastors to dispense the faithful from the obligation of abstinence and fast or commuting it to something else. If such dispensation or commutation is not obtained then "the manner of fulfilling the precept" is abstinence.
Thus one must substantially observe the law of abstinence on such days, and the obligation to do so is a grave one, meaning that it satisfies the condition of grave matter required for mortal sin. If one knowingly and deliberately fails in this obligation then one has committed mortal sin.
As to the reason for this, the Code of Canon Law notes that:
The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons [Can. 1249, emphasis added].
It is thus a matter of divine law that the faithful are to do penance (a fact we could have determined from Scripture), and the regulations regarding fast and abstinence are simply the Church's specification of this divine requirement, made in keeping with Jesus giving the church the power to bind and loose (Matt. 16:18, 18:18).
** I recall the priests stayed as late as 4:00 AM and rescued many a fallen soul. **
Wow! We have a scheduled Mission each Lent too. Had a priest from Goa, India for several year. Don't remember where the priest was from the year before.
Last year we had a priest from the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament specifically for helping us to set up 24/7 Adoration. He was wonderful! And we have 24/7 Adoration with only a few holes in the time schedule -- 2:00 and 3:00 and 4:00 am. They were all excellent.
This year we have a Paulist priest so I am curious about his presentations. Will let you know. (Hopefully he won't be from the church where John Kerry attended Mass.)
Hey, thanks, FS, for checking on that for me. I really didn't know last year when the question was asked.
BTTT on Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007!
Great ideas, thanks for posting them!!
It's still as appropriate as it was several years ago!
|The Holy Season of Lent
|Fast and Abstinence.
It is a traditional doctrine of Christian spirituality that a constituent part of repentance, of turning away from sin and back to God, includes some form of penance, without which the Christian is unlikely to remain on the narrow path and be saved (Jer. 18:11, 25:5; Ez. 18:30, 33:11-15; Joel 2:12; Mt. 3:2; Mt. 4:17; Acts 2:38). Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). The general law of penance, therefore, is part of the law of God for man.
The Church for her part has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that the Catholic will do something, as required by divine law, while making it easy for Catholics to fulfill the obligation. Thus, the 1983 Code of Canon Law specifies the obligations of Latin Rite Catholics [Eastern Rite Catholics have their own penitential practices as specified by the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches].
The Church, therefore, has two forms of official penitential practices - three if the Eucharistic fast of one hour before Communion is included.
Abstinence The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
On the Fridays outside of Lent the U.S. bishops conference obtained the permission of the Holy See for Catholics in the US to substitute a penitential, or even a charitable, practice of their own choosing. They must do some penitential/charitable practice on these Fridays. For most people the easiest practice to consistently fulfill will be the traditional one, to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. During Lent abstinence from meat on Fridays is obligatory in the United States as elsewhere.
Fasting The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday [Canon 97] to the 59th Birthday [i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday] to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.
Those who are excused from fast or abstinence Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.
Wishing my Catholic FReeper friends a meaningful and healthy Lent season! It’s a fascinating holiday / time. I am learning so much.