This year Christmas is on Friday (Merry Christmas everyone ). Are we still required to perform the Friday Penance ?
Never mind. I think I just found the answer …
Canon 1250 – All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the universal Church.
Canon 1251 – Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
… it appears that The Code of Canon Law indicates that Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat on all Fridays during the year, not just during Lent.
it appears that The Code of Canon Law indicates that Catholics are supposed to abstain from meat on all Fridays during the year, not just during Lent.
That is the universal law but note the words “according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops”
That would be the USCCB in the US and they I believe they have loosened this law to the meaningless rule of you just have to do something of your own choosing.
Anyway as you discovered we do not need to perform the Friday Penance on Christmas it is a day for feasting
And maybe not even that, according to Jimmy Akin.
Amen. :bounce: Happy Christmas all,
I was reading the above just as I was chowing down on a chicken breast smothered in gravy and cheese. Not the healthiest for a diabetic but hey it’s Christmas.
Thank you for the clarification.
From the USCCB …
1. Friday itself remains a special day of penitential observance throughout the year, a time when those who seek perfection will be mindful of their personal sins and the sins of mankind which they are called upon to help expiate in union with Christ Crucified;
2. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ;
**3. **Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law. Our expectation is based on the following considerations:
[INDENT] a. We shall thus freely and out of love for Christ Crucified show our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity in Christ and his Church.
**b.** We shall thus also remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.
[/INDENT]… You know, I don’t understand what that means? Anybody?
I don’t know how many Fridays I have dutifully, and mindlessly, observed the abstinence of meat penance. I use this fact of my human nature as a springboard to examine my “real level” of penitential practice and not just look at it as a checklist to do, which if I do do, then I can go about my business for that day in total disregard for living a life of continual conversion. So, with this in mind, the USCCB ruling can be looked upon as doing us a favor to help us to “awaken” ourselves to living this life of conversion by consciously making a decision to do a particular penance that isn’t a mindless thing we do to satisfy some Church rule and then to happily go about our day without a further thought of penance.
In brief, no.
On major feasts such as Nativity, the Church wants us to feast!
Traditionally, the day BEFORE a solemnity was a day of penance. However, I don’t think that applies anymore. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong.
Well, you wanted it in vernacular. You got it. :D:D:D
Perhaps if it’s chanted…
Brief answer: No.
Elaborated answer: Return to the second post in the thread and read the underlined portion. Christmas is a solemnity, therefore we are by canon law exempted from penitential activity.
As this coming Friday is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, is there also no obligation to do Friday Penance?
What is the purpose of a Friday penance? Go back to #2 and #6.
Traditionally, the penances of Lent are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Since every Sunday is an Easter, like the penance of Great Lent of 40 days, the preparation for Sundays’ feast is a means of preparing ourselves by doing some act of abstinence, meat is typical but not the only option, “we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat” (USCCB), with the time and money freed up by that abstinence we have more to offer to God for focusing on prayer and almsgiving, an aid in our spiritual life and prayer life. Other feast days likewise one would prepare for, and like Easter/Sunday the preparation is for the feast day, so to fast on a feast day itself, whatever day of the week it falls on, just makes no sense.
The USCCB quoted in #6 speaks of the preference of abstaining from meat as a means of showing “our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity in Christ and his Church… [and to] remind ourselves that as Christians, although immersed in the world and sharing its life, we must preserve a saving and necessary difference from the spirit of the world. Our deliberate, personal abstinence from meat, more especially because no longer required by law, will be an outward sign of inward spiritual values that we cherish.”
Each person, together with his/her confessor or spiritual director, decides what practices will best prepare him/her for Easter and every Sunday and feast day.
You might look at this short teaching by Fr. Moses of Holy Resurrection Monastery on Fasting in the Byzantine Church Year. While fasting is typically more extensive in the Eastern Churches there is still much in this short teaching that can be helpful in understanding what is the purpose, value, of fasting East and West. (Also the companion teaching Feasting in the Byzantine Church Year with Fr. Moses is useful to listen to. Again, Feast days are generally celebrated to much greater degree in the East, but there are elements that could be helpful to Latin Catholics in that segment.)
It looks like this applies to Jan 1 solemnity as well, since it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
It applies because it is a solemnity. I don’t why it would matter if the solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation or not.
(But the fact that it is a Holy Day of Obligation is pretty much a give-a-way that the day is a solemnity.)
Jan 1 is the Feast of Circumcision in the EF; Mary, the Mother of God in the OF. Both are solemnities, I understand?
A related question:
If a Solemnity or major Feast day like Christmas falls on a Friday, is it permissible to continue to observe Friday penance such as abstinence? or is this frowned upon by the Church?
What would you understand the purpose to be of penance on a solemnity/Great Feast Day (on a Friday or any other day of the week)?