Are we obliged to fast and abstain or not?

Here is my annual confusion. The Church documents for fasting and Abstinance say that the current provision is to Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, to abstain on those days as well as Fridays during Lent. So far so good.

There are some that say that even those days are “optional” including one ordained poster in these forums. I can’t find any documentation to support the rules being optional. Is there?

Some Church bulletins lately have stated the current rules but then stated that they are not binding under penalty of sin.

One of the precepts of the Church is to follow the rules regarding Fast and Abstinance.

So, if not following the rules violates a precept of the Church, how can it not be binding under penalty of sin?

Thanks for your help.

Dear Kristine,

Forget about what some say and go with what the Church documents say.

We are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The law of fast binds everybody from ages 18-59 unless they have a medical condition that would interfere significantly with fasting.

We are obliged to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday. The law of abstinence binds everyone who is fourteen years old and up unless they have a medical condition that would interfere significantly with abstinence from meat.

No matter how clear the Church states it, there are always some wags who want to muddy up the waters!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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