Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Carnivorous Irish Catholics Rejoice

The bishop has said it's "ok" to eat corned beef on St. Patrick's Day.

The Church sets aside the Season of Lent as a time of personal prayer and penance for the renewal of the Christian life. . . .

In order to assist the faithful to participate in this season of strong grace, the Church sets forth certain penitential practices to be observed. The principal practices are the observance of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fast and abstinence, and the observance of the Fridays of Lent as days of abstinence. 

This year, March 17, the Memorial of St. Patrick, falls on the second Friday of Lent. In light of the time-honored celebration of St. Patrick on his feast day by various parishes and groups within the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, I am pleased to dispense, in accord with the norm of Canon 87, §1, the just-mentioned parishes and groups, as well as the individual members of the faithful who participate in their celebrations, from the observance of Friday, March 17, 2006, as a day of abstinence from meat.

So, "time-honored" celebration takes precedence over canonical law, which can be dispensed with the stroke of a pen, because, fasting on a holiday, after all, just isn't the kind of sacrifice we Catholics are going for. I'll never understand rules that are rules only until they become inconvenient. I mean, this is the Roman Catholic Church for goodness' sake. If they don't think their fasting thing matters, why do it at all?

There's no mention of compensating or anything by not eating meat on Thursday, for example. The Church seems to be betting on the probability that people will be too ill off green beer and greasy meat even to think about eating on Saturday, March 18.

I know, I know, it's about a spiritual reflection, inner cleansing, being a prayerful individual with a good relationship with God - an attitude that has nothing to do with food rules. . .but still.

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