Christmas and Friday penance


First, Merry Christmas to all of you!!

I was wondering since I don’t eat meat on Fridays as my penance, if it would be ok if I ate meat this Christmas since it’s on a Friday this year. I know most of the meals tomorrow my mom and at my uncle’s house will have meat.


I heard of a saint who once said that it is a sin to fast or do any extraordinary penance on feasts.

Go for it.


Yes; see answer in duplicate thread.


I also abstain from meat on Fridays, but I ate
a turkey dinner LAST Friday on the 18th of Dec.
I guess I will have to have a dispensation from
the priest!! I know it is Okay to eat meat TODAY,
since it is a Solemnity, how about New Year’s
Day, is it a Solemnity?


A dispensation is given beforehand, not afterward!

Yes, 1 January is a solemnity, not because it is the first day of the secular calendar year, but because it is the feast of Mary, Mother of God.

Since 1966, U.S. Catholics in the Latin Church are permitted to do some other form of penance on Fridays instead of abstaining from meat, although we are encouraged to maintain the traditional custom. Read more here.


I thought abstaining from meat on Fridays is one of the forms of penance? I haven’t done any other form of penance on Fridays. Is it a sin not to do something else beside abstain from meat or is it optional?


As stated above, substituting other penances is permitted, not required.

You’re going to get different answers on this one, because it’s a bit complicated. It has to do with Canons 1251-1253 of Western canon law, and the American bishops’ 1966 pastoral letter, which has legal consequences but is not written in a legal style, leaving it open to interpretation.

In the end, I believe we are still strictly bound to do some form of penance every Friday (as well as other prescribed times), because it is the universal law of the Latin Church, even though the USCCB has given U.S. Catholics a dispensation to substitute other forms of penance. But I’m not a canon lawyer, so you may want to ask your pastor for guidance.


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