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  #1  
Old Mar 8, '11, 8:31 am
Uziel Uziel is offline
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Default Lenten abstinence from meat?

As Lent begins tomorrow, I am currently struggling with Lenten abstinence from meat. I was morbidly obese and have made life changes to turn things around, but have a restricted diet. While I am no longer morbidly obese, I am still not done with fat loss, and as part of that diet have very specific macronutrient targets for a day's consumption.

I really do not like seafood unless it's fried, but last year for Lent I tried to force myself to eat seafood in place of the normal chicken that I eat. I ended up throwing my food away most times.

Is there a dispensation or exclusion for someone already fasting (for health benefits) and those on a restricted diets? I don't know how else I'd meet my dietary goals without the use of meat.
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  #2  
Old Mar 8, '11, 8:36 am
The Old Medic The Old Medic is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

You are NOT required to abstain from eating meat during Lent in the United States. You are required to abstain on only two days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That is the rule in the USA. You are encouraged to abstain, but anyone with a legitimate medical problem is excused from those requirements (as are those 60 and older and children).

You could easily choose to have protein shakes of days of abstinence. But, if you can not tolerate them, yes you have a dispensation because of medical reasons.
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  #3  
Old Mar 8, '11, 8:43 am
Uziel Uziel is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Medic View Post
You are NOT required to abstain from eating meat during Lent in the United States. You are required to abstain on only two days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That is the rule in the USA. You are encouraged to abstain, but anyone with a legitimate medical problem is excused from those requirements (as are those 60 and older and children).

You could easily choose to have protein shakes of days of abstinence. But, if you can not tolerate them, yes you have a dispensation because of medical reasons.
Wow, I've been a US Catholic all of my life and never heard this. Not that I don't believe you, but is there a record or ruling that pertains to this that I can read through and share?
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  #4  
Old Mar 8, '11, 8:54 am
Rence Rence is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Medic View Post
You are NOT required to abstain from eating meat during Lent in the United States. You are required to abstain on only two days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That is the rule in the USA. You are encouraged to abstain, but anyone with a legitimate medical problem is excused from those requirements (as are those 60 and older and children).
That's not correct. You are required to abstain from eating meat during all Fridays during Lent, in addition to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Medic View Post
You could easily choose to have protein shakes of days of abstinence. But, if you can not tolerate them, yes you have a dispensation because of medical reasons.
You can get a dispensation because of medical reasons, that's correct. To the OP, talk to your priest. If you have a medical reason (and it sounds like you do), you can do something else instead. Your priest may be able to help you determine what that something else can be.
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  #5  
Old Mar 8, '11, 10:03 am
losh14 losh14 is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Valid medical reasons include pregnancy, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and other conditions where limiting food intake or reducing protein intake is considered unwise.

Otherwise, we are held to the penance of abstinence. If there is a valid reason to not abstain from meat, it is good to offer some form of substitution. For example, I knew a diabetic who maintained a normal diet but ate only cold food on days of fasting.
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  #6  
Old Mar 8, '11, 10:26 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Medic View Post
You are NOT required to abstain from eating meat during Lent in the United States. You are required to abstain on only two days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That is the rule in the USA. You are encouraged to abstain, but anyone with a legitimate medical problem is excused from those requirements (as are those 60 and older and children).
Not so. The USCCB has decreed that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence while all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. In Canada, the CCCB as not imposed abstinence on Fridays of Lent.
The law of abstinence from meat binds everyone 14 and older.
The law of fasting binds those aged 18-59 (the beginning of their 60th year). Canon 1252

Fast is not required of those who are ill, pregnant, etc., but most who can't fast can still abstain from meat. That may not be the case for the OP, who should really talk to his pastor.
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  #7  
Old Mar 8, '11, 10:31 am
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tuscany tuscany is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Catholics ( I'm only speaking of in the U.S.), are required to observe fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence EVERY Friday during Lent.
On occasion, it will be O.K. to eat meat on a Friday during Lent (Such as when St. Patrick's Day lands on a Friday), but your Bishop will announce something like that so you will know. But the norm is No meat on Fridays during Lent.

If you have a genuine medical condition, you are not required to put your life in danger or risk your health. Your priest can guide you and maybe give you another way to sacrifice that doesn't include food.

Congradulations on your weight loss, good job!!
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  #8  
Old Mar 8, '11, 12:31 pm
Robert Burns Robert Burns is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziel View Post
As Lent begins tomorrow, I am currently struggling with Lenten abstinence from meat. I was morbidly obese and have made life changes to turn things around, but have a restricted diet. While I am no longer morbidly obese, I am still not done with fat loss, and as part of that diet have very specific macronutrient targets for a day's consumption.

I really do not like seafood unless it's fried, but last year for Lent I tried to force myself to eat seafood in place of the normal chicken that I eat. I ended up throwing my food away most times.

Is there a dispensation or exclusion for someone already fasting (for health benefits) and those on a restricted diets? I don't know how else I'd meet my dietary goals without the use of meat.
Well , the rule isnt that you have to eat Seafood. You have to not eat meat or gravy from meat. Millions of Vegetarians do it every day. As for your diet or if you are on a restricted diet - talk to your Priest - and he can give you a dispensation if your claim have validity in the eyes of the Church , but if not , if he doesnt give you dispensation , then you are bound to Fast and Abstain.

But the good news - if you do Fast and Abstain - you will subject your flesh to your Spirit and your Faith will grown exponencially stronger. That is the hidden aspect of Lent no one seems to talk about. The Spiritual renewal from Fasting and Abstinence.

As St Paul says - the Flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the Flesh.

My advise? Dont let the Flesh win.

Pax
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  #9  
Old Mar 8, '11, 12:51 pm
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziel View Post
As
Is there a dispensation or exclusion for someone already fasting (for health benefits) and those on a restricted diets? I don't know how else I'd meet my dietary goals without the use of meat.
it is the same dispensation for anyone who has a health issue or medical reason they cannot fast or abstain, they are not and never have been bound by those regulations. you don't need to ask for any dispensation, you merely exercise your prudential judgment based on medical advice.
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  #10  
Old Mar 8, '11, 1:04 pm
adrift adrift is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Old Medic View Post
You are NOT required to abstain from eating meat during Lent in the United States. You are required to abstain on only two days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. That is the rule in the USA. You are encouraged to abstain, but anyone with a legitimate medical problem is excused from those requirements (as are those 60 and older and children).

You could easily choose to have protein shakes of days of abstinence. But, if you can not tolerate them, yes you have a dispensation because of medical reasons.
I am afraid you have mixed up fasting with abstinence as others have noted. What I wanted to point out is that although there is an age limit with fasting, those who have completed their 60th birthday are no longer required to observe it, there is no age limit for abstinence. It is required for all those over the age of 14.
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  #11  
Old Mar 8, '11, 1:32 pm
Robert Burns Robert Burns is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrift View Post
I am afraid you have mixed up fasting with abstinence as others have noted. What I wanted to point out is that although there is an age limit with fasting, those who have completed their 60th birthday are no longer required to observe it, there is no age limit for abstinence. It is required for all those over the age of 14.
I thought the age was over 7
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  #12  
Old Mar 8, '11, 1:38 pm
5Loaves 5Loaves is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uziel View Post
I was morbidly obese and have made life changes to turn things around, but have a restricted diet... am still not done with fat loss, and as part of that diet have very specific macronutrient targets for a day's consumption.

...Is there a dispensation or exclusion for someone already fasting (for health benefits) and those on a restricted diets? I don't know how else I'd meet my dietary goals without the use of meat.
Welcome to the CAF Uziel. Congratulations on your wonderful weight loss! What a great accomplishment.

For Catholics of the Latin Church the USCCB has said for those in the US "Fridays in Lent are obligatory days of complete abstinence (from meat) for all who have completed their 14th year." You might find some use in looking at their site The Lenten Season, one of many places where this directive appears.

As others have said dispensations are always something a priest can consider offering so he is the one to address your question to.

You can with permission from your priest also find another significant thing from which to abstain. At the same time since fasting and in the case you mention abstinence can offer us wonderful rewards in growing closer to our Lord. I would encourage you to also talk with the nutritionist you're working with on your weight loss program and see if s/he can suggest a vegetarian option for meeting the specific macronutrient targets you need.

The traditional practices in Lent (indeed year round) of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, are outward expressions of our inward commitment to conversion. As with so many things in our faith journey the Church gives us great aid by making the Invisible visible. HH Pope Benedict XVI said in his Lenten address last year "fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God." and Fr. Schmemann says "... the purpose of Lent is not to force upon us a few formal obligations, but to "soften" our heart so that it may open itself to the realities of the spirit, experience the hidden "thirst and hunger" for communion with God."

There is so much to potentially be gained in seeing if you can abstain and take that abstinence, prayer and works of mercy seriously in this great and beautiful season for experiencing God's great love and mercy. You have clearly demonstrated in your weigh loss process that you can face a very significant challenge and bring various strengths to overcome it. I'm sure some of those tools, in addition to the Holy Spirit will support you in your Lenten journey. God is with us!

Whether you find you are able to abstain from meat or with your pastor's guidance abstain from some other serious thing, a sincere and penitent heart is what we bring to Him for it to be softened, as Fr. Schmemann says, so that as, HH Benedict XVI instructs us, our "friendship with God" may be restored.
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  #13  
Old Mar 8, '11, 3:40 pm
adrift adrift is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

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Originally Posted by Robert Burns View Post
I thought the age was over 7
I remember the age of seven as well I wonder if that wasn't the age before Vatican II.
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  #14  
Old Mar 8, '11, 6:10 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adrift View Post
I remember the age of seven as well I wonder if that wasn't the age before Vatican II.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law said one was bound to abstain from meat from the age of 7; the 1983 Code raised the age to 14.

The 1917 Code said the law of fasting bound a person "from the completion of the twenty-first year of age until the beginning of the sixtieth." The 1983 Code changed the wording to "all adults (...) up to the beginning of their sixtieth year" so it varies from country to country. Canada and the US have set the age at 18.
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  #15  
Old Mar 8, '11, 7:12 pm
The Old Medic The Old Medic is offline
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Default Re: Lenten abstinence from meat?

Once again, someone has posted incorrect information.

I came into the church well before Vatican II.

I did NOT mix up abstinence and fasting. If one has a legitimate reason, one is excused from abstinence. This was also true BEFORE Vatican II.

I was almost always provided a dispensation, for my first 20 years as a Catholic. First because I was the only Catholic in a non-Catholic family and it was felt that it would be unreasonable to expect them to make two meals, one for me and one for everyone else. I was excused from the requirement to not eat meat on Fridays, as well as during Lent and the minimal requirement that used to be there in Advent (either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a meatless day.

While in seminary, of course I both fasted and abstained, much more frequently than was required by the Church.

Then, I spent 10 years on active duty in the US Army. ALL members of the military are excused from both abstinence and fasting. They may CHOOSE to do either, but they are not required to. This was also the case before Vatican II.

If one has a medical reason why eating meat is necessary, then they are automatically excused from the requirement. And people that have disabilities, and the elderly are also excused from the REQUIREMENT. They are encouraged to abstain from eating meat, but they are NOT required to do so.

I happen to qualify as a disabled person, as an elderly person, and as a person with medical necessity.
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