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Hot dog! Friday abstinence may be back, and this ‘old Catholic’ is ready to embrace it
OSV ^ | November 25, 2012 | Greg Erlandson

Posted on 11/18/2012 3:18:25 PM PST by NYer

Want to feel old? Talk to anyone under the age of 50 about meatless Fridays. Odds are, they will have no memory of it. They will have no knowledge of why Catholics were called “mackerel snappers,” nor will they laugh at tired George Carlin routines about going to hell for eating a hot dog. 

And they sure as heck won’t know why many restaurant chains still have their fish specials on Fridays. 

But for all you youngsters, you might get ready: Friday abstinence may be coming back. 

Once upon a time, children, Catholics abstained from meat on Fridays as a small act of penance. Not just Fridays during Lent, but all Fridays. Friday was the day of the Lord’s death on the cross, and throughout the year, not just on Good Friday, Catholics would commemorate that day in a special way. One still finds this practice in religious communities like monasteries, and the British bishops restored the practice last year.  

In general, however, meatless Fridays disappeared after the Second Vatican Council, despite the fact that canon law (Canon 1251) still asks us to abstain from meat or other food on Fridays subject to the requirements of the local conference of bishops. 

The irony is that of all the many changes when the Church windows were opened to the fresh wind of aggiornamento, this one may have been one of the more significant. It was a small act of penance that was thoroughly integrated into everyone’s lives.  

Of course, not everyone did it with full consciousness of what it was intended to commemorate. For many, it just became a rule, and junior theologians like young George Carlin loved to debate whether eating a hot dog on Friday led one straight down the brimstone path to hell. 

Yet when Friday abstinence was done away with, it had a rather oversized impact on Catholic identity. It turned out it was a significant public acknowledgement of one’s faith, like ashes on the forehead. The bishops hadn’t meant for such small acts of penance to go away. They had intended to open up other options for sacrifice. But, of course, they weren’t. 

And all those junior theologians? They wondered why one day you could go to hell for eating meat on Friday and the next week it was no big deal. Ultimately, this was a case when punishments became more important than catechesis, and what had a historic and pastoral value became instead a rule for a rule’s sake. Then, over-emphasizing the penalties was compensated for by abandoning the practice all together, and neither response was right. 

However, the Church may get a chance to try again. In his speech to his fellow bishops Nov. 13, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, suggested that it might be time to return to the practice of Friday abstinence.  

“The work of our Conference during the coming year,” he said, “includes reflection on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible reinstitution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent.” 

Now to be fair, he did not specifically mention giving up meat. And, of course, one could give up television screens, or dessert, or a hundred other little pleasures we all enjoy. But I hope we do go back to those meatless Fridays. There is something to be said for Catholics knowing they are all in it together. This time, maybe we will not put the focus on the threats or the punishments, but use this as a teaching moment and a positive reinforcement of our Catholic identity. 

My real hope is that we will also keep in mind why we are doing it: To remember Someone who gave up a lot more for us.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: dolan; fish; friday; meat
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1 posted on 11/18/2012 3:18:36 PM PST by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
My real hope is that we will also keep in mind why we are doing it: To remember Someone who gave up a lot more for us.

That "someone", of course, being Jesus Christ.

2 posted on 11/18/2012 3:20:44 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

I remember one time we had just arrived at my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a weekend visit and my Aunt found out my cousin who was in high school at the time had eaten a cheeseburger at lunch. It was like the end of the world. She had to go to the priest Sat morning and confess. The good old days. :))


3 posted on 11/18/2012 3:21:52 PM PST by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: NYer

I never knew the reason for “fish on Fridays” among Catholics. Interesting; thank you.


4 posted on 11/18/2012 3:22:38 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (The idiocracy has come home to roost. God help us.)
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To: NYer
Friday abstinence

Sorry, the church can't tell me when I can make love to my wife...

O' wait...Meatless Friday...never mind...

5 posted on 11/18/2012 3:25:40 PM PST by Popman
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To: NYer

I remember it, but that grade school cafeteria fish was really bad. But now you can get pretty good frozen fish. Bring it on!


6 posted on 11/18/2012 3:27:06 PM PST by Mike Darancette (I don't understand why the Boomers are so passive.)
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To: NYer

If memory serves, McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish grew out of a desire to provide Catholics with a menu option on Fridays. Prior to that, the restaurant had tried (and failed) to market a sandwich involving a ring of grilled pineapple or something like that.


7 posted on 11/18/2012 3:27:57 PM PST by DemforBush (100% Ex-Democrat.)
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To: CatherineofAragon

Our public school had fish on Fridays (60s/70s) and it was not even a predominant Catholic town. In fact, the Catholic church was in the next town 10 miles away in a different district.


8 posted on 11/18/2012 3:27:57 PM PST by taterjay
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To: NYer

Our local diner still serves their mac and cheese special on Fridays. Put stewed tomatoes on top and you have a meal that will hold you the entire evening.


9 posted on 11/18/2012 3:29:54 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: NYer
My real hope is that we will also keep in mind why we are doing it: To remember Someone who gave up a lot more for us.

Heck, I'll do it, for two reasons. One to remember Jesus and his sacrifice, and two, because it would irritate the left to practice my religion publicly.

10 posted on 11/18/2012 3:30:01 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: NYer; Georgia Girl 2

Started Living the obligation again over a year ago, Big picture it is a good way of keeping our Lords sacrifice in the mind much of the day. Every time I think about food (too much) I remember why We have this day of obligation.


11 posted on 11/18/2012 3:33:30 PM PST by jafojeffsurf (Return to the Constitution)
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To: DemforBush
If memory serves, McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish grew out of a desire to provide Catholics with a menu option on Fridays.

You've got one sharp memory! Absolutely correct but bad timing for McD. Shortly after they introduced the Filet-o-fish, the church announced that one could eat meat on Fridays ... IF ... they sacrificed something else. Unfortunately, most catholics only heard the first part of that announcement, and celebrated by slapping a steak on the grill :-)

12 posted on 11/18/2012 3:34:10 PM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

A co-worker is part of the Society of Pope Pius X.

They don’t recognize the Vatican conferences.

So, he’s on all year fish Fridays. And, during lent, its no meat whatsoever for 40 days. I think he also goes to mass more often than once a week....and, of course, the mass is in Latin.


13 posted on 11/18/2012 3:35:40 PM PST by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: CatherineofAragon

The real reason for ‘’meatless’’Fridays for Catholics is to commemorate Phillip the Second driving the Moors(muslims) out of Spain(Andalusia) Friday being the day the worthless Saracen bastards go to the mosque.


14 posted on 11/18/2012 3:37:07 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: taterjay

It’s a nice commemoration of what Jesus did for us, IMO.


15 posted on 11/18/2012 3:39:50 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (The idiocracy has come home to roost. God help us.)
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To: jmacusa

Phillip! Where are you when we need you?


16 posted on 11/18/2012 3:40:50 PM PST by CatherineofAragon (The idiocracy has come home to roost. God help us.)
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To: NYer

I’ve never understood how eating fish (or macaroni and cheese, for that matter) can be an act of penance.

I’m fond of both. Ate them every Friday in the school cafeteria when I was a child and didn’t feel like I was missing a thing.

Seems to me that it would be more penitent and do more good to fast and give the savings to the poor.


17 posted on 11/18/2012 3:40:50 PM PST by Jedidah
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To: NYer

For those who are not Catholic, you can also join in and go Galt on Fridays.


18 posted on 11/18/2012 3:41:13 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: jmacusa

Then they should really just eat pork on Fridays. That makes more sense.


19 posted on 11/18/2012 3:42:30 PM PST by Jedidah
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To: NYer

Just hope that those who are Bible based Christians do not get into a fit saying that what the Lord did on the Cross took of the need for sacriface out of penence.


20 posted on 11/18/2012 3:42:59 PM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: NYer
In his speech to his fellow bishops Nov. 13, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, suggested that it might be time to return to the practice of Friday abstinence.

I just don't know what to think of Dolan. He seems somewhat astute, yet overall his approach to the Left in general (and Obama-ism, specifically) is either hopelessly naive, or hypocritcally political. My cynicism leads me to believe the latter.

21 posted on 11/18/2012 3:43:47 PM PST by workerbee (The President of the United States is DOMESTIC ENEMY #1)
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To: NYer

He was always free to observe Friday abstinence.


22 posted on 11/18/2012 3:44:10 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Government is the religion of the psychopath.)
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To: Mike Darancette

Why not just eat pasta and cheese pizza?


23 posted on 11/18/2012 3:45:39 PM PST by EEGator
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To: Vince Ferrer
and two, because it would irritate the left to practice my religion publicly.

Make the sign of the cross and say grace when eating out and see how people react to you.

24 posted on 11/18/2012 3:46:55 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: NYer

Eating meat on Fridays was not a mortal sin. Ergo, one was not in danger of being sent to hell upon death. Rather, it was a venial sin.


25 posted on 11/18/2012 3:48:30 PM PST by CdMGuy
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To: Biggirl

Yeah, those darned Bible-based Christians. Where do they get off?


26 posted on 11/18/2012 3:50:10 PM PST by Last of the Mohicans
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To: NYer
CHAPTER II : DAYS OF PENANCE

Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.

Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

27 posted on 11/18/2012 3:51:26 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: Biggirl
Just hope that those who are Bible based Christians do not get into a fit saying that what the Lord did on the Cross took of the need for sacriface out of penence.

I suppose I'm one of those "Bible based Christians" of whom you speak. Personally, if done for the reasons you cite (to remember what Jesus did for us), I think it's wonderful.

I always think of one thing when I hear people talk about Catholics not eating meat on Fridays. When I was in college (30 years ago), I served food in the cafeteria and usually on Friday evenings. I was in a building that had a bar in it and they had happy hour every Friday afternoon/evening. One after another, kids would stumble in, drunk as skunks, ask for meat and then exclaim, "Oh, no! I can't eat meat! It's Friday! I'll take the fish!" Seemed kind of odd.

28 posted on 11/18/2012 3:52:10 PM PST by cantfindagoodscreenname (I really hate not knowing what was said in the deleted posts....)
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To: NYer

Balut! Balut! Balut!

Balut is for friday’s

Balut is a chick just before hatching and ok for Friday. Meat that isn’t meat


29 posted on 11/18/2012 3:55:12 PM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: cantfindagoodscreenname
Seemed kind of odd.

Other students fornicate on Saturday and go to church on Sunday. It has a lot to do with the age. And college. Ignorance. And sheer stupidity.

30 posted on 11/18/2012 3:56:34 PM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: lacrew

Is it possible to do a quick “dummy” version of the Vatican conferences? I bet I’m not the only clueless one. Thanks. I also will understand if it’s way too complicated to condense.


31 posted on 11/18/2012 3:58:14 PM PST by leaning conservative (snow coming, school cancelled, yayyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!)
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To: NYer

I grew up in a town where there were just a handful of Catholics. There was and is a Catholic church but it is about the size of a one bedroom house.

Our school from grammar school through high school always served fish on Fridays, I suppose for the Catholics. No one minded and the fish was pretty good. In fact all their food was decent especially the rolls.


32 posted on 11/18/2012 3:58:56 PM PST by yarddog (One shot one miss.)
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To: yarddog

I teach in a public school (30 years now) We still have meatless Fridays in our cafe.


33 posted on 11/18/2012 4:02:51 PM PST by mware (By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West)
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To: NYer

Those of us who are Traditional Catholics have observed Friday abstinence and all other aspects of Catholic orthodoxy that the new religion of Vatican II sought to destroy.


34 posted on 11/18/2012 4:03:31 PM PST by NewJerseyJoe (Rat mantra: "Facts are meaningless! You can use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!")
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To: NYer
the church announced that one could eat meat on Fridays ... IF ... they sacrificed something else.

Here is the appropriate section of canon law:

From the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1249 All Christ's faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.

Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

Can. 1253 The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

The USCCB established the fasting norms for those of us in the US in their "Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence"

22. 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.

23. 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 by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.

24. 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 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 to 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.


35 posted on 11/18/2012 4:09:24 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: leaning conservative
All that was good and holy was sucked out of the Roman Catholic Liturgy, Communion in the hand was authorized and horrible "music" was imposed on us. One half century later we're still a long way from reversing the damage that was done.



Genuflectimus non ad principem sed ad Principem Pacis!

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. (Isaiah 49:1 KJV)

36 posted on 11/18/2012 4:10:55 PM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: Jedidah
The bishops agree with you.
19. Changing circumstances, including economic, dietary, and social elements, have made some of our people feel that the renunciation of the eating of meat is not always and for everyone the most effective means of practicing penance. Meat was once an exceptional form of food; now it is commonplace.
20. Accordingly, since the spirit of penance primarily suggests that we discipline ourselves in that which we enjoy most, to many in our day abstinence from meat no longer implies penance, while renunciation of other things would be more penitential.
21. 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.
...
27. It would bring great glory to God and good to souls if Fridays found our people doing volunteer work in hospitals, visiting the sick, serving the needs of the aged and the lonely, instructing the young in the Faith, participating as Christians in community affairs, and meeting our obligations to our families, our friends, our neighbors, and our community, including our parishes, with a special zeal born of the desire to add the merit of penance to the other virtues exercised in good works born of living faith.

37 posted on 11/18/2012 4:18:39 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: A.A. Cunningham
Make the sign of the cross and say grace when eating out and see how people react to you.

I do that all the time. No one has ever given me a dirty look. I do it for Jesus, but also it just may remind another person to think of Jesus, however briefly.

38 posted on 11/18/2012 4:20:00 PM PST by Slyfox
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To: Jedidah
IIRC, England (The anglicab church)proposed two days a week as fish days. But the reason was specifically to promote the fishing industry.

The idea that it is/was a sin to eat meat on Friday is ridiculous.

39 posted on 11/18/2012 4:27:23 PM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

He was always free to observe Friday abstinence
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Thank you...

It appears, from the article (especially the ‘head line’) and some of the comments that people seem to think they can’t ‘observe’ because it isn’t an edict.


40 posted on 11/18/2012 4:30:22 PM PST by xrmusn (6/98 "Hope in one hand and $hiite in the other and see which fills up first".)
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To: taterjay

I went to a Southern Baptist college, and WE had fish on Fridays. We crabbed (bad pun) about it to the lady who ran the cafeteria. She explained that we were being sensitive to our Catholic “friends” who attended our school. So we went to Der Wienerschnitzel or McDonald’s for lunch, and out for Mexican food for dinner. If you couldn’t afford to go, several would always chip in for your food. We told the cafeteria lady that WE were being sensitive to our Southern Baptist brethrens’ need for tacos and beef enchiladas.


41 posted on 11/18/2012 4:31:38 PM PST by righttackle44 (I may not be much, but I raised a United States Marine .)
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To: NYer

Does one nee to be told to abstain from meat on friday? I would think that ya could do it without “mother church” telling you to ???


42 posted on 11/18/2012 4:34:26 PM PST by RnMomof7
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To: NYer

I remember those days, and some of the Friday dinners. Fish sticks, canned salmon patties, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, or the rare fish fry from one of the Polish bars in town. A simpler time.


43 posted on 11/18/2012 4:34:56 PM PST by cayuga (The next Crusade will be a war of annihilation.)
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To: Popman
O' wait...Meatless Friday...never mind...

Stop worrying, you're allowed to eat fish on Friday

44 posted on 11/18/2012 4:37:56 PM PST by Hot Tabasco (Jab her with a harpoon.....)
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To: Jedidah

Having a jar where you can put in a little money every Friday could be a good way to honor the sacrifice. The money could be donated to the church or a charity.


45 posted on 11/18/2012 4:39:41 PM PST by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: NYer

“Abstinence from eating meat”. Glad that was clarified, was getting worried.


46 posted on 11/18/2012 4:41:17 PM PST by TruthWillWin (The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples money.)
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To: NYer

I’ve been doing this for a while now....it focuses on what happened that Good Friday.


47 posted on 11/18/2012 4:44:41 PM PST by Ann Archy (ABORTION....the HUMAN sacrifice to the god of CONVENIENCE.)
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To: Mike Darancette

I remember it too, and loved the fish on Fridays at school. It was really good. I never knew the reason for it, but looked forward to the Friday fish.


48 posted on 11/18/2012 4:49:20 PM PST by Catsrus
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To: NYer
I'd be fibbing if I said I like fish...or have ever liked fish.But as a small show of gratitude to Jesus for what He suffered on my behalf I'd surely do it.I remember meatless Friday's well and didn't like them.But now that I have a better understanding I'll have a much better attitude.
49 posted on 11/18/2012 4:59:10 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Benghazi: What Did Baraq Know And When Did He Know It?)
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To: NYer
I'm on it!

I've been trying to keep Fridays meatless for the past few years. Lots of tuna fish sandwiches for lunches these past few years.

50 posted on 11/18/2012 5:06:25 PM PST by Northern Yankee (Where Liberty dwells, there is my Country. - Benjamin Franklin)
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