Wednesday 7 September 2011

Meatless Fridays

...But not on a Friday any more!

With all the emphasis on the new translation the fact that we here in England and Wales are to return to abstaining from eating meat on Fridays - starting next Friday 16th September - has crept up on us without much preparation. I've certainly spoken of it to the people here in the parish at Mass before but without any particular catechesis. I found some excellent information for the people which I have cut and paste and put into an information sheet (four A4 sides) for the people this weekend. Where did I find this helpful, practical and Catholic information? The Web-site of the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales! So praise where praise is due to Fr Marcus Stock whose name is attached to the work. You can get to the PDF link from here.

He is quite right when he says that the required act of penance on a Friday, once we were no longer given direction to a specific act, has simply been forgotten. I do wonder if many priests will also forget to tell their people about this new direction? Not much has come from the diocese here certainly, no pastoral letter, for example. The idea of outward practice binding us together and helping to forge our distinct identity is something that has been all too eroded over recent times and we hardly stand out as any different from our non-Catholic neighbours any more at all. Sadly, I don't think that's because everyone else has fallen into line with the Church!


Victor S E Moubarak said...

The intention (not to eat meat on Fridays) is a good one. However, it causes confusion amongst Catholics and non-Catholics alike when it applies to England and Wales only. Catholics in Scotland, Ireland, Europe and elsewhere seem not to be affected by this.

God bless.

GOR said...

Re: Victor's note:

As one of my colleagues noted many years ago the differing requirements in specific locations (he was referring to episcopal mandates for Lent in assorted Irish dioceses at the time...) have the, albeit unintended, consequence of "regionalizing Mortal Sin..."

It would be nice if some direction were given to the Universal Church from the center of Catholicism - Rome. And not just 'modest proposals' - a la Jonathan Swift - but binding obligations - for all Catholics.

berenike said...

GOR - I am sure Having to avoid meat on a Friday would make a big difference to many Catholics in Somalia or Sudan.

The bishops aren't vicars of the Pope.