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 Post subject: Fish on Friday?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:07 pm 
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Since I was a kid, I was always told that only Fridays during Lent were meatless. Then a few years ago, I hear on Catholic Answers (either Karl or Jimmy) that actually that's only for us Americans, and that the rule, under canon law, is that we have to do some sort of intentional penance on Friday. I've heard it many times since, and have even advocated it on this board. I personally (I'm not bragging) follow this rule.

Recently I could've sworn Jimmy said that actually there is no required penance ON FRIDAY (outside Lent, of course). So, what's the rule? Can I eat hot dogs tomorrow if I don't do some other penance?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:13 pm 
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Jimmy said that. I still don't agree with him. (But that is my personal opinion, not having formally studied canon law.)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:22 pm 
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Just do what I do and adopt the policy of no meat on any Friday throughout the year and that will for sure cover you. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:13 pm 
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The Friday during the octave of Easter is exempt from penance thought, is that right.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:34 pm 
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tAnGo wrote:
Just do what I do and adopt the policy of no meat on any Friday throughout the year and that will for sure cover you. ;)


Unless you go berserk and violate any sense of penance by going hog-wild (pun intended) by eating loads of "luxury" foods – e.g., depending on your tastes, baked stuffed lobsters, etc.

The old spirit and law things, you know.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 4:44 pm 
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of course, ed.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:38 pm 
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Akin's recent writings on this topic are here:
http://www.jimmyakin.org/2004/07/since_tomorrow_.html
http://www.jimmyakin.org/2004/07/more_on_friday_.html
http://www.jimmyakin.org/2004/07/friday_penance_.html

Since no one in a position of authority over me (priests, US bishops, nuns, teachers, etc.) has ever instructed of a Friday obligation outside of Lent, I choose to side with Akin. It is a suggestion, but FAR from an obligation.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:07 pm 
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Seatuck wrote:
The Friday during the octave of Easter is exempt from penance thought, is that right.


Any Friday with a solemnity on it is, and all days of the Easter Octave are solemnities. Feast when the Church feasts!

And, as always, the question is not merely "What's the least I can do and not fall into mortal sin?", but "What will bring me closer to God?"

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:40 pm 
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I'm not clear--so ARE we supposed to do some kind of penance every Friday throughout the year? I knew nothing about this.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:10 pm 
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persephone wrote:
I'm not clear--so ARE we supposed to do some kind of penance every Friday throughout the year?

Reading Akin's interpretation - the US Bishops have made (although it hasn't been communicated well at all) a general "recommendation" of some sort of penitential act, in place of the Canon Law which obliges Friday abstinence. Akin is clear - the language used by the US Bishops conveys no "obligation".

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I knew nothing about this.
Neither did I. You'll only find the issue being discussed at all, on web sites like this. I guarantee if you ask 1000 people coming out of a typical parish church on a Sunday, you won't find more than a handful who follow a Friday penance outside of Lent. And most of those, are probably clinging to pre-VII practices. In those 1000 people, you'd be awfully lucky to find ONE who knows the "full story".

And no, the question is not "What's the least I can do and not fall into mortal sin?", but rather "What does the Church really require, so that I don't spread false information, or my own personal interpretation of things that are really under the authority of the Bishops of my country."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:31 pm 
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Just for further discussion here are some of the pertinent canons:

Quote:
Can. 1244 §1. It is only for the supreme ecclesiastical authority to establish, transfer, and suppress feast days and days of penance common to the universal Church, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1246, §2.

§2. Diocesan bishops can decree special feast days or days of penance for their dioceses or places, but only in individual instances.

Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.

Can. 1246 §1. Sunday, on which by apostolic tradition the paschal mystery is celebrated, must be observed in the universal Church as the primordial holy day of obligation. The following days must also be observed: the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension, the Body and Blood of Christ, Holy Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, Saint Joseph, Saint Peter and Saint Paul the Apostles, and All Saints.

§2. With the prior approval of the Apostolic See, however, the conference of bishops can suppress some of the holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.

Can. 1249 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. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.


As I have said in the past I am not a canon lawer nor have I formally studied canon law and anything I have to say in regard to the canons is merely my own oppinion.

Canon 1244 is clear that only the Apostolic See can suppress days of penance common to the Church. Those days being every friday of the year and the season of lent according to Canon 1250. Sub-paragraph 2 of canon 1244 is clear in that Bishops may decree special days in regards to their diocese but nothing about supressing them. In canon 1253 we find that the conference of bishops can substitute other forms of penence.

Sorry for any thread drift but I find canon law fascinating.

God grant you peace
Michael Francis

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:15 am 
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Michael Francis wrote:
Just for further discussion here are some of the pertinent canons:

Quote:


Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.


As I have said in the past I am not a canon lawer nor have I formally studied canon law and anything I have to say in regard to the canons is merely my own oppinion.

Canon 1244 is clear that only the Apostolic See can suppress days of penance common to the Church. Those days being every friday of the year and the season of lent according to Canon 1250. Sub-paragraph 2 of canon 1244 is clear in that Bishops may decree special days in regards to their diocese but nothing about supressing them. In canon 1253 we find that the conference of bishops can substitute other forms of penence.

Sorry for any thread drift but I find canon law fascinating.

God grant you peace
Michael Francis

Although you did preface the listing of canons with a disclaimer "some of the pertinent canons", a most relevant one which you omitted is canon 1251.

This canon states (in a translation I have easy access to)
Quote:
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.



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:23 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Seatuck wrote:
The Friday during the octave of Easter is exempt from penance thought, is that right.


Any Friday with a solemnity on it is, and all days of the Easter Octave are solemnities. Feast when the Church feasts!

And, as always, the question is not merely "What's the least I can do and not fall into mortal sin?", but "What will bring me closer to God?"

I like your motto "Feast when the Church feasts!"

I didn't get much (any) response to the following "proposal" which I posted back in Lent. By the way, I did not follow my proposal and had a meatless dinner. Note that I argued that my proposal was not a minimizing of Friday Lenten abstinence.

Edward Pothier, on an old previous thread, wrote:
As a possible point of interest, my understanding is that you will be able to eat meat at dinner of the Friday coming up, Friday March 18th of 2005. Since Saturday is March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph and since the observation of Solemnities start on the evening before, the evening of Friday 3/18/2005 is actually the start of the St. Joseph Solemnity.

Since St. Joseph is not a Holy Day of Obligation in the USA (although it is in the universal Latin Rite, see Canon 1246 of the 1983 Code and CCC section 2177), there most likely is not an evening Mass for the Solemnity in most churches as there often are on Saturday evenings for Sunday or the Eve of Holy Days. But the LOTH for Evening and Night Prayer are for the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

To eat meat on Friday evening of 3/18 is not a minimizing of the Friday Lenten abstinence, but a maximizing of the great Solemnity of the great St. Joseph!



Edward Pothier


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:35 am 
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Edward Pothier wrote:
I like your motto "Feast when the Church feasts!"


It comes with a corollary: Fast when the Church fasts. I stole it from a Monsignor in our diocese anyhow.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 7:55 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Edward Pothier wrote:
I like your motto "Feast when the Church feasts!"


It comes with a corollary: Fast when the Church fasts. I stole it from a Monsignor in our diocese anyhow.

[joke]

When you confess that breaking of the 7th commandment (in the usual RC numbering), your penance might be Thursday abstinence too.

[/joke]


Edward Pothier


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:41 pm 
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I highly recommend everyone interested in this topic read the document which lifted the mandatory abstinence on Fridays for the US. Its called On Penance and Abstinence and was published in 1966. It has an excellent meditation on why we have abstinence and why the mandate was lifted.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:19 am 
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And, as a counter-poise, may I recommend this article which revisits the decision?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:19 am 
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Thanks for the help, everyone. For what it's worth, I personally think that on non-Solemnity's there is a quasi-moral obligation to do penance and that, absent "don't go out in sack cloth" circumstances (i.e., your in-laws cook you a t-bone) you should not eat meat. I've read a bit of Jimmy's stuff, and he makes a reasonable argument that it's not a legal obligation. However, I don't see (and I'm definitely not a canon lawyer) how the 1983 code doesn't supersede the 1966 U.S. bishops' doc.. But that's just me. I think I might e-mail this question to my archdiocese. My way of actually handling this is doing some other penitential act and hoping that I don't wind up having meat placed in front of me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:57 am 
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Just my opinion (which is worth exactly what you're paying for it) ...

What's the big deal? Why are we always looking for ways to legally (Canon Law) do the absolute least we can do to honour God?

Keep the tradition and discipline of the Friday Penance. What does it cost you? A little bit of effort? A steak dinner? What do you gain in return? Graces from God. Seems like a more than fair trade.

Why keep looking for the easy way out? Jesus has told us that the path to hell is wide and easy ...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:15 am 
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Carole wrote:
What's the big deal? Why are we always looking for ways to legally (Canon Law) do the absolute least we can do to honour God?

No one here has said that. But if someone asks "what is the requirement", aren't we obliged to give the correct answer?

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Keep the tradition and discipline of the Friday Penance.
That's your opinion, nothing wrong with it. The Bishops encourage this attitude too. But simply forgetting to do so is not the sin that it once was.


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