Skip to comments.MEATLESS FRIDAYS and the Official Church Law (Surprise!)
Posted on 02/28/2006 10:01:19 AM PST by NYer
The National Conference of Catholic
(American) Bishops - NCCB
The vast majority of Catholics today do not know that there is an existing obligation to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. While it is true that the Code of Canon Law allows for the substituting of another penitential practice, authorized by the NCCB, one has not been defined. As a consequence the abiding custom of the Church has been set aside. Neither bishops nor priests, with rare exception, inform the faithful of their obligations. Laxity and indifference have become the rule throughout most of the American Church in all matters of faith and morals. The congregations are being led straight into Hell.
Laxity and indifference are particularly notable in relation to human life. As the value of life expands in its deterioration, the bishops continue their practice of public posturing. As noted in the news article following the quotations from the Code of Canon Law, the bishops are now consideringg the possibility of reintroducing that which is, in essence, already the existing law of the Catholic Church.
If the average Catholic were asked if they abstain from meat on Fridays, they would say no. If asked what penitential practice they have substituted in place of not eating meat, they would commonly say none.
Bishops, and the priests in their jurisdictions, have long neglected to teach about the obligatory requirement of either abstaining from meat on all Fridays of the year, or of substituting another observance. They have sinned by omission. It should be noted that even Pope Paul VI's variance in Paenitemini of 17 February, 1966 did not abrogate (terminate) the obligation to at least substitute another form of penitential practice.
The bishops are proposing to possibly have Catholics -- do what they were commonly supposed to be doing anyway (NOTE: Most Catholics no longer believe in condemnatory sin and consequently do not go to obligatory confession when in grave sin. It is probable that today there are more Catholics with non-Catholic beliefs than there are Protestants.) -- express their concerns in regard to abortion and euthanasia by abstinence (not eating the meat of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fowl). This might to some seem an improvement to expressing the need for prayer in regard to the multitudes of innocent people daily being slaughtered by Godless people. During the seven month period of time intervening between making the proposal to discuss and actually possibly discussing the proposal their will have been between one-half million and over five million people legally murdered in America. Obviously they do not consider this to be a matter of grave concern.
What else could be said or done?
Jeeze I knew that since I was a kid. I guess the Catholics nowadays don't have to go to Mandatory Religious Instruction once a week like I did as a kid. It was required for all Catholic public school kids.
Not to mention fasting also on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.....
Precisely what does "meatless Fridays" have to do with the teachings of Christ?
What are the repercussions of eating meat on Fridays?
Brussel sprouts definitely fall in the category of "some other food."
Oh we had mandatory religious instruction (CCD) every week when I was a kid (80s and 90s). Unfortunately it mostly consisted of self-esteem lessons and art projects and precious little actual religious instruction.
I would agree with Father that I would like to hear some mention of Friday penitential practice from the pulpit more than once in a lifetime. Considering that I still hear the "Vatican II changed all that" nonsense from laity on a regular basis.
Unfortunately it mostly consisted of self-esteem lessons and art projects
You have no one to blame but yourself if you didn't find salvation through making macaroni pictures of The Manger. In fact, it probably speaks unfavorably about your macaroni composition skills. I'd suggest more glitter next time.Owl_Eagle
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
"At the heart of all penance is the call to conversion. Jesus' imperative "Repent, and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1:15) makes explicit this connection between authentic discipleship and penitential discipline. Discipleship, our following of Jesus, embraces discipline, a firm commitment to do whatever is demanded in furthering God's kingdom. Viewed in this way, the virtue of penance is not optional, just as weeding a garden is not optional for a responsible caretaker. The gardener is concerned with a bountiful harvest; the disciple is concerned about greater conformity to the person of Jesus.
If we are serious about embracing the penitential discipline that is rooted in the call to discipleship, then we will identify specific times and places for prayer, penance, and works of charity. Growth in spiritual maturity demands a certain level of specificity, for it shows that we take seriously God's call to discipline and are willing to hold ourselves accountable. In our Catholic tradition we specify certain days and seasons for special works of penance: Fridays, on which we commemorate the death of the Lord, and Lent, our forty days of preparation for the Easter mysteries."
We had to go to the Catholic Schools and were taught ONLY Religious Instruction by the Nuns. The Catholic school kids got the afternoon off on Wednesdays. I went in the 60's and 70's.
It's a form of fasting. (A very wimpy, watered-down, and easy-to-observe form of fasting, but a form of fasting nevertheless.)
Christians have fasted since the earliest days. Christ commends "prayer and fasting" to drive out demons, and himself fasted in the desert for 40 days at the beginning of his public ministry. The Didache (ca. AD 80) commands fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays. Fasting is a form of self-denial and mortification. There are whole books written on fasting and other spiritual disciplines. A simple explanation of "why should I fast" is that, by fasting, you voluntarily give up some created natural good to remind yourself to focus on supernatural goods: God and intimacy with him through grace.
Or do people get used to abstaining this or that during proscribed times decided upon by the Catholic hierarchy and do it as a rule without ever spending time daily in prayer and actually asking God's for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as forgiveness for one's sins; daily Bible Study and meditation on the message that they have just read?
I'm not trying to be contentious here, just trying to understand the Catholic faith.
Same here. My whole office does not eat meat on Fridays during lent.
I just don't understand why if I fast at a time specified by another, how that really ever relates to me or my personal communication with God.
I think in every religion there are people who lose themselves in external observances and conforming themselves to various "rules" and then miss the essential inner core of things.
Any Catholic who doesn't take time to pray every day, though -- not just during Lent but all year -- just plain isn't doing it right. Any Catholic catechism or spiritual director worth his salt will make that abundantly clear.
Perhaps just because it's better than never fasting at all?
The significance of Fridays, of course, is in commemoration of the Passion.
A KVJ mistranslation. The Greek word simply means "foods".
And the reference is to certain Gnostic groups, which forbade marriage (for all of their members) and had various strange rules about foods, some of which were thought to be salvific and others of which were thought to damn a person.
But thanks for the classically misunderstood verse of Scripture posted as an anti-Catholic troll. We've never seen that one before. Really. Not.
I believe the intention of all this sort of thing is to put aside some of the things "of the world" to help us focus on what's most important.
Tomorrow we'll fast and abstain from meat. If we spend all day moaning and groaning to ourselves, then we've really missed the point. If all the little hunger pangs and changes in our daily routine turns our hearts and minds more intently toward Jesus, it is a gain for us. If we only do it because "we gotta", we miss an opportunity. Plus, we do it together.
Check out the Orthodox sometime. They do some real heavy duty fast and abstinence during Lent. We Latins are pretty lightweight in discipline compared to them.
LOL . . . I sure am going to miss this place - starting tomorrow I'm giving up FReeping for Lent.
I grew up around three Catholic families and knew very well of their "meatless Fridays" but was too young at the time to understand, though their kids didn't understand any more than I did, they just hated fish and mac&cheese and really envied me during Lenten Season when I ate ice cream.
Well, good luck with that. I'm still trying to decide between red meat, tobacco, or my sobriety. FWIW- the wife is lobbying heavily for one or both of the first two.Owl_Eagle
(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,
Heh. sounds very much like my sunday school instruction when I was a child--totally vapid.
Now THAT is sacrifice!
I just skimmed through this earlier thread. It seemed pretty good.
We are imitating the Master - remember when he went to the desert and fasted? It is a small way to imitate him and by so doing remember the redemption he purchased for us so that we might be inspired to lead lives in accord with the abundant grace bestowed upon us.
I think your question is disingenuous. You could have figured the answer to your question quite easily on your own.
Our clergy do all our mediation and contemplation.
We don't have to pray.
We don't have to think.
We just pay enough money and "shazam" we get into heaven.
Its kind of like being saved.
It's such a sweet deal.
Good question. Here's the closest I can find:
Now the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy and having their conscience seared, forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful and by them that have known the truth. -- I Timothy 4:1-3
We live and die by the hierarchy.
If I did not have a priest telling me what to and when, I think I would just freak out.
I can't be bothered with any "personal relationship with Christ" business.
If my priest can't do it for me, I am not interested.
Enter the glycemic index and the Atkins diet. We all eat more chicken than we did 10 years ago. Anyway, it seems to me that now when adults have to have pizza, in the back of their heads they're thinking, "that's enough carbs for today. No dessert."
Now people hear this information and it sticks with them, and guess what? No meat's a sacrifice again!
I myself am a weak-willed person --- poorly disciplined ---and I find it difficult to fast. In fact, just thinking of fasting makes me visualize tacos, barbecued pork ribs, creamy vanilla ice-cream with Hershey's chocolate syrup, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting: you see the problem.
I have always found it a little easier (not easy, but a little easier) to fast when:
(1) It's obligatory. I can't so easily weasel out of it by saying, "Oh, I'll fast tomorrow. Besides, my Atkins diet counts as a fast. Besides, I fasted this morning and I felt a little weird, so I NEED that ham & cheddar hot pocket..." Obligatory helps.
(2) Other people are fasting at the same time. When you're not eating meat, it really helps if nobody in your family is nuking hotdogs in the microwave. The solidarity (and relative lack of temptation) when everbody in the household is on the same page, spiritual-discipline-wise, counts for a lot to a shilly-shallying sinner like me.
OF COURSE you've gotta be praying when you're fasting. Think about Christ fasting. Good Lord, if even He had to fast ---- He who was perfect ---
No doubt there are other "medicines" besides fasting which can help you focus your mind of repentance and prayer--- but it's always a good idea to find out what medicine your Doctor takes...
>>LOL . . . I sure am going to miss this place - starting tomorrow I'm giving up FReeping for Lent<<
Me too! And the Catholic Answers forums. Last year I spent too much on Ebay but missed the whole Terri Schinder death brewhaha.
God works in mysterious ways.
You didn't look very hard, did you?
Actually, fasting should be every Friday, plus throughout Lent, plus Ash Wednesday, Wednesdays and Saturdays of Advent, Vigils, etc. The Pope abrogated the requirements here under pain of sin. They didn't throw away the tradition of doing these things. That was left for the lazy laity to do to prove themselves unworthy of the name Catholic by rapidly discarding their identity and traditions.
The American Bishops have been urging fasting for every Friday since 1983 as a voluntary penitential measure.
Most people are minimalists though, and refuse to do anything not required by pain of damnation.
By the way, if you want to dispute the word 'meats', take it up with those infidel Douay-Rheims translators; it was their version I quoted.
Its a part of fasting. Aside from giving up a quantity of food in fasting, you also give up luxurious foods (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.)
"And the disiples of John and the Pharisees used to fast; and they come and say to him: Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast; but thy disciples do not fast? And Jesus saith to them: Can the children of the marriage fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them; and then they shall fast in those days." (St. Mark 2.18-20)
You must mean nutmeats.
Fasting has two purposes. (1) To reduce our concupiscible appetite for sensible delights (food, drink, and sex being the primary ones) so that the mind can focus on heavenly things without the distraction of coming earthly delights. (2) To reduce our necessities at times and allow us to then give from our surplus to the poor. The money you save from not having lunch, or forgoing a steak at dinner should go to your local soup kithen or food pantry for the poor. The time saved from not preparing elaborate meals or going out to eat should also be given over to the service of others who need our help.
So fasting should mean a person gains a better relationship with Christ, and becomes more Christlike to others through a growth in charity. Whether that actually occurs depends upon the dedication of the person, and if they approach their faith and the fast in a legalistic manner, or in a spiritualistic manner.
The word "meat" in Elizabethan English had a different meaning than it does now. What we call "meat," the Elizabethans frequently called "flesh meat" or "flesh".
Check the Greek.
Matt. 9:15; Mark 2:20; Luke 5:35 - many non-Catholics frown upon the Church's pious practice of fasting, and say that fasting went away after the resurrection of Christ. But Jesus Himself says that His followers will fast once He is gone and does not object.
Matt. 6:16-18 - in fact, Jesus even gives instructions on how to fast. Jesus says, "Do not look dismal like the hypocrites, but look clean and refreshed."
Matt. 17-21; Mark 9:29 - Jesus teaches that only prayer and fasting had special power to cure a man possessed by a demon. Jesus teaches about the efficacy of fasting and how fasting, coupled with prayer, is acceptable and pleasing to God.
Luke 2:37 - Anna the widow worshiped God with fasting and prayer night and day. The Church has always taught that, by virtue of our priesthood conferred in baptism, our fasting participates in the priesthood of Christ by atoning for the temporal punishments due to our and other peoples sins.
Acts 13:2-3; 14:23 - the apostles engaged in prayer and fasting in connection with ordaining leaders of the Church. Prayer and fasting have always been the practice of the Church.
1 Tim. 4:3 - when Paul refers to doctrines that require abstinence from foods, some Protestants refer to this verse to condemn the Catholic Church's practice of fasting. But Paul is referring to abstinence and any other practice that is performed apart from Christ's teachings. Fasting, on the other hand, is done in obedience to Christ's teachings of taking up our cross and following Him, by participating in His sufferings so we can share in His glory. When citing this verse, these Protestants do not explain why Jesus prophesied that his followers would fast and why Jesus gave instructions on how to fast.
Ez. 8:21-23 - Ezra proclaims a fast as a prayer for humility and self-mortification and God responds. Our fasting is performed to remind us of our absolute reliance upon God.
Neh. 1:4; 9:1 - these texts also show the historical practice of fasting. Fasting atones for temporal punishment due to sin and repairs our relationship with God.
Tobit 12:8 - prayer is good when accompanied by fasting. Throughout salvation history, God has encouraged fasting to be coupled with prayer.
Judith 4:9-13 - the people of Israel humbled themselves with fasting and the Lord Almighty responds.
Esther 4:3,16 - people fasted for days to atone for sin. Although Jesus remits the eternal penalty of our sin, we can atone for temporal penalties due to our sin.
Psalm 35:13 - David says, "I afflicted myself with fasting." David recognized that fasting drew him closer to God. Fasting makes us aware of our dependency on God.
Psalm 69:10 - the Psalmist writes, "I humbled my soul with fasting." Fasting helps us become humble, and in our humility we unit ourselves with our humble God.
Jer. 36:9 - the peoples of Jerusalem and Judah declared a fast before the Lord.
Baruch 1:5 - they wept, fasted, and prayed before the Lord.
Dan. 9:3; 10:2-3 - Daniel sought God through fasting, and abstained from choice foods and wine for three weeks.
Joel 1:14; 2:12,15 - fasts are called to sanctify and turn oneself toward the Lord.
Jonah 3:5,10 - people of Nineveh proclaim a fast to appease God and God responds favorably.
1 Macc. 3:47; 2 Macc. 13:12 - Judas and his army fasted in prayer.
The context says nothing about meat.
The word in the Greek is bromah, which means simply "food" or "that which is eaten". Look it up.
Your relationship with God is as part of a community, not as an atomistic individual. You came to God because members of the Church brought His message to you, and you joined them in their belief and became their spiritual brother. Now this community is a supernatural community, since it is both the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. And since it is a community, the comunity does supernatural things together at the same time as a group - for example, penitential acts on Friday and corporate divine worship on Sunday - just as a natural community has certain things they do as a group, such as celebrating Independence Day, or a family community eats dinner together at night.
We do it together because that is when Jesus Christ Himself promised to be in our midst. "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (St. Matthew 18.20)