This article is somewhat disingenuous by purposely obscuring the fact that the traditional practice IS to fast for every single one of the 40 days. The article talks about the 2nd century, but then jumps ahead to 1966, in a perfect example of the "antiquarianism" that was condemned by Pope Pius XII. Somehow it fails to mention that for hundreds of years prior to 1966, all faithful were obligated to fasting and partial abstinence EVERY day during Lent (except Sundays which technically are not included in Lent).
Prenant or nursing women and men who performed hard labor were exempted from the obligation except on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. This would have included a large percentage of the Catholic population a hundred years ago. But all those who lived the way that we live today were obligated to fast and abstain.
Fasting means taking only 2 small meals (called a "collation") not amounting to 1 normal meal, and 1 full meal. Meat, meat soup and meat gravy could only be eaten at the full meal. There could be no "eating between meals" (maybe your mother was on to something).
This is the first year that I have been fully aware of the traditional practice. It would seem hypocritical to attend the Latin Mass but opt out of the difficult part of traditional Catholicism. So this year I plan to follow the traditional guidelines. I also ordered a calendar with both traditional and current feast days so I know when "Ember Days" and "Rogation Days" fall.
This year, I hope to get to Mass every day. (I've been pretty lax in my faith of late, and this might be a good opportunity to get back on track).
I notice that Sundays are not technically part of Lent... but I still observe the fast on that day and I will regardless. However, the mother of a friend of my daughter's told my daughter that she could partake on the Sundays in Lent, whatever it was she was giving up that year. Would that be correct then?
If you want to go back to erlier practices, though, Lent was not just fasting for all of the sixty days, it also included stricter fasts. It was common to abstain from meat, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, fish, oil, and wine.
Some even abstained from all food and beverages except breads, water, juices, honey, and nuts. (John the Baptist's diet)
There were also many other practice, including fasting from all food by ordinary Christians for an entire day.
Besides those outside the age limits, also excused from fast or abstinence are 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.
Also, soldiers are often excused, which may be especially relevant this year.
This is also my first traditional Lent observance. (My first ever). I'm not dreading it, as the preist warned against Sunday, but looking forward to the challenge.
Is there also an age "exemption" included in the Church laws for Lent? I believe it's ages 9-59 for the fasting rules. Regardless of that, the "patriarch" of the company I work for is a 75+ year-old traditionalist to whom age means nothing. He fasts like he's 20, and also often labors hard through the day. I've never seen anyone like him...
PS - the calendar is indeed very handy. Would yours happen to be printed by TAN Publishers?
I remember, as a kid attending Catholic school, taking our peanutbutter and jelly or fried egg sandwitch to school to eat 'after Mass'.
That is the case for all real Roman Catholics to this day. We got the regulations at Mass this week and they are posted on the refrigerator. One full meal with meat (except on days of abstinence) and two meals without meat that together do not equal one full meal. Them's the rules. Ignore them and you commit a mortal sin. No free rides in God's own Church.
To what end?