Too Scrupulous? Meatless Fridays

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cricker

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I am so confused. I have read Canon Law (1253) and the 1966 NCCB statements on the abstaining from meat. In a nutshell, I understand that it is now not a sin to eat meat on Friday. And, although it is encouraged to make Fridays a day of self-denial, even personal penance is only recommended (either by abstaining from meat, or other acts). Do I have this clear? (I was sternly told by a priest to stop being so ‘scrupulous’ by abstaining from meat on Fridays that are not Lent - or by substituting another act of penance or charity). I know I still CAN, but is there some degree of disobedience by NOT doing something that is so strongly urged by even the NCCB?

Can anyone out there set me straight? :eek:
Thanks, and blessings,
Cricket
 
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cricker:
I am so confused. I have read Canon Law (1253) and the 1966 NCCB statements on the abstaining from meat. In a nutshell, I understand that it is now not a sin to eat meat on Friday. And, although it is encouraged to make Fridays a day of self-denial, even personal penance is only recommended (either by abstaining from meat, or other acts). Do I have this clear? (I was sternly told by a priest to stop being so ‘scrupulous’ by abstaining from meat on Fridays that are not Lent - or by substituting another act of penance or charity). I know I still CAN, but is there some degree of disobedience by NOT doing something that is so strongly urged by even the NCCB?

Can anyone out there set me straight? :eek:
Thanks, and blessings,
Cricket
I am not sure where your priest was coming from. Our priests and diocese still recommend some penance on Friday. Not eating meat is a perfectly good one so most of us stick to that.It is true you can choose some other sacrifice so I would say your not disobedient if you choose meatless Fridays. It is certanly encouraged but it is not a sin if you don’t, I think is what he was saying.
 
Hi Cricket!

Here’s how I know it: Friday’s are a day of Penance for everyone in the Church. It used to be the accepted practice to go without meat, but at the last council, there were quite a few Bishops from Third World countires who said that for most of their flocks, going without meat was an everyday thing! No one had any so they were really at a loss for giving it up on Friday! So, they made going meatless optional under the conditions that if you weren’t giving up meat, you’d give something else up instead. Those of us who live in the good ole USA, the land of Micky D’s and Taco Bell, are still expect to make penitential acts on Fridays in honor of the Passion of our Lord. If we choose to eat meat, then we are obilged to give up something else. I too have had a few Confessors try to talk me out if meatlessness; I’ve gotten pickier about my Confessors. One other thing, the last time this came up with a good Confessor, he recommended that I stick to food as my penace rather than substituting extra prayers for having eaten meat because the whole thing is meant to make me feel the pinch of penance! Get it - comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable!

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
P.S. The Canons for this question:

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.

Paragraph 1438 of the CCC States: The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, pentitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
Don’t forget
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.​
However, in answer to the original question, I know nothing of this practice’s purported designation as a “recommendation”. Canons 1250 and 1251 above should make that clear. As far as I know, there is no scrupulosity about keeping Fridays penitential.

tee
(who keeps Friday abstinence, but doesn’t fret if he’s presented with meat (as he was yesterday at a Knights of Columbus(!) meeting))
 
It is a venial sin to (knowingly) do no penance on a friday.

It “used to be a mortal sin”, because the authority of the Church imposed that discipline - disobedience was under pain of mortal sin. It is not mortally sinful according to the natural law though, and the Church can and has changed the discipline.
 
As for the Byzantine Catholic perspective, we really have enforced the meetless Fridays.
In addition, try going through out fasts during Lent!
Our Lenten practices include NO meat AND dairy Monday through Friday and except of soleminities during Lent. We also have a total of FOUR fasts during the Church year.
  1. Philips Fast- 40 days before Christmas
  2. The Great Fast- 40 days before Easter.
  3. Apostles’ Fast-15 day fast before the Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul.
  4. Fast for the Assumption/Dormition of the Mother of God. A 15-day fast.
    (Summer Fasts are not as long as the Major Fasts).
I pray that this sheds some light on being meatless.

Edwin
 
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cricker:
I am so confused. I have read Canon Law (1253) and the 1966 NCCB statements on the abstaining from meat. In a nutshell, I understand that it is now not a sin to eat meat on Friday. And, although it is encouraged to make Fridays a day of self-denial, even personal penance is only recommended (either by abstaining from meat, or other acts). Do I have this clear? (I was sternly told by a priest to stop being so ‘scrupulous’ by abstaining from meat on Fridays that are not Lent - or by substituting another act of penance or charity). I know I still CAN, but is there some degree of disobedience by NOT doing something that is so strongly urged by even the NCCB?

Can anyone out there set me straight? :eek:
Thanks, and blessings,
Cricket
Remember that there are a number of Priests that were not properly instructed when it comes to numerous matters. You need to show them things like this with great love and charity, and understand they were instructed that this was no longer done.
 
Hey Edwin -

Ever keep the “Black Fast?”

Just wondering.

Peace and all good,

Gail

P.S. St. Francis kept the Lent of St. Michael
 
Honoring Our Lord’s Passion and Death with abstinence from meat, or sometimes offering up eating meat when offered at someone else’s home, denying ourselves this way, as well as with occasional other little mortifications is a great way of putting God first, and learning to put pleasures and creted things second.

I first learned to do this by divine inspiration ala the Little Flower, offering up little things that I was afraid would insult God. Then reading in a book of meditations (In Conversation With God) that it was accepted practice. How can we teach our children chastity when we never teach and provide examples of denying earthly pleasure of some kind in order to keep our focus on Heaven (just as Peter’s example of walking on water teaches us?

I, too, have had fellow Catholics and clergy exclaim that I was being scrupulous, but I now believe that they have been wrongly catechized and/or are lukewarm. 😉

In Christ’s peace and joy,
 
Hi Everyone and thanks for the messages! (with all the new boards popping up, I forgot what board I posted on and ‘lost’ the thread for a while! :eek: )

I reallly appreciate the advice, and am a bit clearer now – not keeping the fast/some alternative is a confessable venial sin, right? :ehh: I guess I will just bring some printouts of the exerpts of canon law into the confessional next time so that he doesn’t keep scolding me for being scrupulous. (You would think that anyone that wanted to do things that are ‘above and beyond’ - even if just in the priest’s opinion - would be appreciated, and not chided.) Thank you for all your support – it’s great to hear that I am not the only one facing these issues!

Peace to you all!
Cricket (wish we could change/correct those log-in names 👍
 
It is a venial sin to (knowingly) do no penance on a friday.
???

I think its a sin to knowingly do no penance, NO MATTER WHAT DAY it is. You are called to penance EVERYDAY, but most especially on Friday.

From Fr. John Hardon’s Pocket Catholic Dictionary:
**PENANCE. **The virtue or disposition of heart by which one repents of one’s own sins and is converted to God. Also the punishment by which one atones for sins committed, either by oneself or by others. And finally the sacrament of penance, where confessed sins committed after baptism are absolved by a priest in the name of God. (Etym. Latin paenitentia, repentance, contrition.) See also SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION, SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION.
If you fail to have a “virtue of dispostion of heart” by which “one repents of one’s own sins and is converted to God” you by definition commit sin, don’t you?

God bless,

Dave
 
Friday Penance is still a REQUIREMENT for all Catholics. It is true that in certain dioceses this penance does not have to be absention from meat, this is an exception to the rule. It is unfortunate that many Catholics believe that Friday Penance was abolished because it WAS NOT.

As far as being too scrupulous, it is best to remember why the exception was made. It was considered that the abundance of other foods made abstaining from meat on Fridays a very light penance for Catholics in developed countries so it was decided to allow Catholics in these areas to substitute another penance. If you examine the reasoning behind the decision, it is clear that, if you substitute another penance for abstaining from mean, that penance must represent a greater personal sacrifice than abstaining from meat would be for you.

It is also true that a charitible act could also be substituted instead of an act of direct penance. However, the same rule applies; this charitible act must represent a greater personal sacrifice than abstaining from meat would be.

Choosing to abstain from meat is not overly scrupulous, it is simply observing the universal norm for the Church. Choosing another penance or a charitible act is only to be done if you feel that abstaining from meat is NOT ENOUGH OF A PENANCE to be meaningful for you. Choosing not to abstain from meat and also not to substitute it with another, stricter, penance or charitable act is simply not an option for a Catholic who wishes to follow the teachings of the Church.

I hope this helps.

David W. Cooney
 
Hello again!

I’m not so sure I’d write this one off as a venial sin. 😦
I was not around when the “change” to meatlessness or some other food was substituted and how it was presented to the laity. All I know is that I was five years a Catholic before I was told the Truth about this practice. I remember very clearly there being an argument in RCIA about how the Church could change this mortal sin of eating meat on Friday’s and how many “poor un-enlightened” Catholics thought they were going to Hell because they went to McDonald’s on Friday! It was a joke! We were told that the only time we had to go without meat was the Friday’s of Lent and Ash Wednesday, that none of us were “going to Hell” if we ate meat on Friday.

We weren’t exactly taught right.

I stumbled upon the Truth of this while reading up on the Lenten fast and abstinence and found out I was still supposed to be going meatless every Friday in honor of our Lord’s Passion and Deathon the Cross! I went to Confession and ever since then I’ve been trying my best to do what it right by the Church, not by those who are trying to build a “better church”! I much prefer the One God is working on!

As to the degree of culpability - if someone has been either wrongfully instructed or not instructed at all about Friday’s abstinence, then I’d have to wonder about the degree of sinfullness, if there is any at all, in chowing down on pepperoni pizzas on Friday! Since I now know the Truth and am capable of abstaining from meat once a week, to not do so would carry a higher degree of culpability and therefore the gravity of the sin would be more for me. What was told to me about the pre-V2 mortal sin of those trips to the Burger Bonanza on Friday’s wasn’t so much the meat involved, it was the deliberate disobedience to the Church that carried the gravity of the sin. So, I guess you could apply this to those who deliberately refuse to instruct the faithful about Friday’s or in an attempt to unculcate their own ideas into our Tradition, have left parts of the instruction out, which is to say the norm these days (most folks think that the only days of meatlessness are during Lent which is only part of the Truth) I’d think the seriousness of the sin lies in the falsification and misrepresentation of Church teaching that has transpired in the past decades. May the Lord have mercy and provide accurate instruction for all the faithful. Boy o boy do we need sisters now!

Peace and all good,

Thomas2
 
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