Abstinence for Christmas Eve?


#1

A very topical and pertinent question, my friends, which I’d like to get a quick answer to. Is Christmas Eve a day of fast and/or abstinence? I’ve always observed it as such, but I’m not sure. Thank you in advance.


#2

I am fairly certain that it is not.

Christmas Wishes.


#3

I found this document… am not sure exactrly what the source is so giving no guarantees …
communityofhopeinc.org/Catholic%20Beliefs/Fasting.html

I have also been told before that the only OBLIGATORY fast days after today’s law are Good Friday and Ash Wednesday.
Abstinence is required on Fridays of Lent or depening on where you live on all fridays (except solemnities/holy days of obligation - I get confused which one). And also on those two fast days (Good friday and Ash Wednesday)

This as far as I know…


#4

Not for Western Catholics.

Once upon a time, yes. But not anymore.

(Years when December 24th falls on a Friday are going to be subject to local rules about abstinence.)


#5

[quote="SMHW, post:4, topic:309215"]
Not for Western Catholics.

Once upon a time, yes. But not anymore.

(Years when December 24th falls on a Friday are going to be subject to local rules about abstinence.)

[/quote]

And, since Christmas Eve is not a feast day like Christmas Day, a Catholic is presumably free to fast or abstain then if they want, as a private devotion?


#6

It was a tradition in my Polish family to abstain from meat on Christmas Eve. That didn’t mean there wasn’t a feast, but it included fish and seafood rather than meat. I gather that other ethnic groups may have such customs as well.


#7

According to the late 1917 Code of Canon Law every Ash Wednesday, every Friday and Saturday of Lent, each of the Ember Days, and the vigils of the Pentecost, the Assumption of the God-bearer into heaven, All Saints, and the Nativity of the Lord were days of abstinence and fast. In the current 1983 Code of Canon Law this no longer applies while we have that all Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church. Cf. wf-f.org/FastandAbstinence.html


#8

=StMartinTours;10165424]A very topical and pertinent question, my friends, which I’d like to get a quick answer to. Is Christmas Eve a day of fast and/or abstinence? I’ve always observed it as such, but I’m not sure. Thank you in advance.

**NO!

only a 1 hour fast as usual**:smiley:


#9

I had not graduated from high school when Christmas Eve ceased to be a day of fast and abstinence so it changed at least 12 years before the 83 Vode of Canon Law came into effect.

OK, as I find out I hadn't even started high school when it ended, in 1966 with Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution "Paenitemini"

As I recall, at some time before that in Canada, it had moved to the 23rd of December and then it was left up to us to choose either the 23rd or the 24th. Oh, again, a document clarifies that: December 1959's

SACRED CONGREGATION OF THE COUNCIL

DECREE

ON THE POSSIBILITY OF ANTICIPATING THE ABSTINENCE AND FASTING OF THE VIGIL OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Favorable to the requests of numerous Bishops of several Nations, Our Holy Lord Pope John XXIII, through the present Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council, has deigned to grant to all the faithful of the Catholic world henceforth the possibility of anticipating the obligation of fasting and abstinence from the twenty-fourth, Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the twenty-third day of the month of December.

Given in Rome, December 3, 1959.

P. Card. CIRIACI, Prefect


#10

There is no obligation to fast, but if you choose to do so, may God bless you!

Catholicism is never about doing the minimum we can do (and such things have been conditioned for the last 50 years). Our Blessed Lord asked us to always give our maximum effort to the praise and glory of God. If that means fasting on the eve of Christmas in joyous anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ, then do it!

I’ve just done some heavy training at the gym today, so I’ve decided to abstain rather than fast. No sweets, yummy foods, and tasty desserts for me. That all comes tomorrow :smiley:


#11

I am glad it is no longer a day of fast. It seems strange to celebrate the Nativity by not celebrating.


#12

The eve is a preparation for the Nativity celebration.


#13

We start at my parish at 5:15 pm on the 25th. Since Catholicism is not about doing the minimum, I am more than willing to go above and beyond on my celebrating and partying.

On a serious note, the USCCB has asked for the faithful that can (voluntarily) to do some pretty serious fasting and prayer this year. My family is considering committing to this as a nativity offering to Jesus. Here is the material, if anyone is interested. It will start in a week. (12/31/2012).

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/life-marriage-liberty.cfm


#14

In a costal town in Portugal, a Catholic family shared their Christmas Eve meal with me - It was salted cod, olive oil, and bread.

It was intentionally simple, to focus our thoughts on how Jesus came into the world. I found the idea refreshing, so franlky the idea has merit.


#15

We seem to have lost the cycle of fasting and feasting in the modern world. We are preparing for the feast of the Nativity with the preceding fast. To me, it makes the feast more meaningful.


#16

Neither abstinence or fasting are required on Christmas Eve. Some cultures have a tradition of only having meatless meals on Christmas Eve, but it’s only cultural, not required by the Church.


#17

Oh, I totally agree. I am just ready to feast. We just completed four weeks of Advent. That was the penitential season for me. Come Christmas Eve later today, I am in full celebrate mode.


#18

When I was a kid we abstained from meat but really feasted on all kinds of fish on Christmas Eve.


#19

[quote="Sunbreak, post:16, topic:309215"]
Neither abstinence or fasting are required on Christmas Eve. Some cultures have a tradition of only having meatless meals on Christmas Eve, but it's only cultural, not required by the Church.

[/quote]

To say that it is only cultural is a bit misleading. It is a cultural tradition that came about because the Church has traditionally considered Christmas Eve to be a day of fast and abstinence. While the Latin Rite has largely eliminated the requirement to fast, it was never intended that we do away with fasting.

My own Ruthenian Church has made some of our traditional fasts voluntary. As my priest tells us at the beginning of each traditional fasting period: "The fast is voluntary, but then again, so is our religion."


#20

In our Byzantine calendar for the Eparchy for Dec 24, 2012 is: “By tradition strict abstinence from meat and dairy.” The Typikon has “Day of Strict Fast.”

In some places there is the practice to both fast and strict abstinence from midnight of December 24, until after the Holy Supper at the Vesperal Divine Liturgy, continuing the strict abstinence until after the Divine Liturgy (after Matins in the morning) on Christmas Day.


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