Skip to comments.Friday abstinence in the Octave of Christmas, or, Meat’s “back on the menu, boys!”
Posted on 12/28/2012 5:57:04 AM PST by NYer
p>People have been asking whether we can eat meat today, Friday, in the Octave of Christmas.
Since liturgically it is a “solemnity”, Friday abstinence is suspended. This applies also to those who prefer the older form of the Roman Rite. Yes, the new Code of Canon Law applies to you as well.
I am fasting today in honor of the Holy Innocents, both historical and present-day.
Coincidentally, the McRib is back today. Hmmmm.
As a new Catholic, I sometimes have a hard time keeping up with all the rules. Nobody said anything to me about not eating meat today, so it’s interesting to see that I’m allowed to. I always wonder what other rules I’m missing. I’m not unwilling, you understand, just ignorant.
I sometimes have a hard time keeping up with all the rules.
Me too, that's why I have to continually learn and practice my religion. And I'm pre-Vatican II.
Welcome to the Faith.
The "anything goes/spirit of VaticanII" crowd conveniently ignore the requirement of a substitution, but Father Z (the proprietor of the "what does the prayer really say" website) is a Latin-Mass, old-calendar type guy and promotes just cutting to the chase and abstaining from meat.
Except during the Octave of Christmas :-)
But don't worry. Just do the best you can.
As a wise old priest said to me when I worried about losing count in my Rosary: "The Blessed Virgin is not a bureaucrat. Neither is her Son."
- convert in 2004.
Eating meat is fine. If doing so bothers others, then refrain - to not cause them consternation; God made meat as proper food, do not demean what God has made.
9On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.10But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;11and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,12and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.13A voice came to him, Get up, Peter, kill and eat!14But Peter said, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.15Again a voice came to him a second time, What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.16This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
It's not legalistic - in fact, once you get into really knowing the way being a Catholic functions in your life, it's incredibly comforting.
Like I said, no bureaucrats here, because Christ is our light.
I’m a convert and we didnt cover this in class....already had a half pound burger and 2 beers :( Sure glad He is a forgiving God.
It’s better for me to give up something else. Giving up meat is not exactly a penance for me, I probably wouldn’t be eating it tonight anyway.
Plus, a sin requires both knowledge that the act is sinful and a deliberate act of the will in committing it.
So you would be golden anyhow, even if it wasn't the Octave of Christmas.
Whether it’s Pharisaic or not depends entirely on intent. If you’re observing a religious rule publicly and ostentatiously, in order to impress others with your obvious holiness, then yes, you’re being Pharisaic. If you’re doing it out of a sincere desire to grown closer to the Lord, to seek His will in all things and kill your own will, then it’s not Pharisaic or not. God honors our desire to love and serve him, whether other humans think it’s important or not.
I think that Father Z slipped on this one—my Table of Liturgical Days in my Latin Breviary (1985 edition) has the days within the Octave of the Nativity as the very lowest of the feasts—the only thing lower in Category II is weekdays of Lent.
Moreover, the more informed comments on Fr. Z’s blog are running heavily against the position.
But for most of us, another penance is always an option anyway.
A conclusion reached by those ignorant of Scripture.
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.
Too late. I had a meatless breakfast and no lunch. We’re having fish for dinner. I’m glad that New Year’s Eve is on a Monday!
It is a common misconception amongst non catholics as to why the Church asks Catholics to practice meatless Fridays. You are absolutely right, ctdonath2, that eating meat is fine. If anything, the practice of eating meat is so ingrained in our western culture that choosing to refrain from it must be triggered by a conscious thought. Putting aside the contemporary trend towards vegetarianism, the thought process for Catholics is one of conscious choice based on love.
As a parent, there have been countless times when out of love for my child, I intentionally chose to sacrifice something I wanted for something my child wanted or needed. So it is for us, as Catholics, to intentionally choose to give up something we enjoy on a regular basis (ex: meat) as a gift in gratitude to our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Does God ask us to do this? Absolutely not! This is a gift of love that we choose to make.
The Catholic Church does not impose this on us; rather, like loving parents, they place it before us as a choice that we can make. God, who knows the hearts of man, recognizes the gift that is given from the heart, rather than the one proffered, out of obligation. Therein lies the distinction.
The Church suggests this gift on Fridays because it was on a Friday that the love of our lives was nailed to a cross and gave up His life for our salvation. And so it is that each Friday, from the time we awake, we have this opportunity to make such a choice, out of love for God. Of course any such sacrifice, done out of obligation, is negated by the choice to refrain from meat while chowing down on a lobster. I know several religious monks whose daily meals are composed of the leftovers from the other monks. This is their choice and it is done out of love, not obligation.
I would suggest you have this backwards. God expects us to be righteous; to honor and love Him. Trouble is we don't as well as we should. We should focus on our failings, confess our sins, and seek His strength to minimize them.
Job 22:4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?
Job 22:5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?
(It's as accurate and even-handed as your comment.)
so there you have it, fasting on all Fridays throughout the year unless a Friday happens to fall on a Solemnity and if you do eat meat on a normal Friday, you can substitute an act of penance in its place. Of course, there are medical, dietary and age limitations, that is up to you and your doctor and priest, the same goes for Sunday mass attendance.
more can be found here:
Father Z has reversed himself on this issue.