Dear forum members, i have a question :slight_smile:

I just read something about giving dispensations from Holy Days of Obligation and from Fast Days.
That usually only the Bishop can do this, but in individual cases also the pastor.

Then I also read this:

which seems to widen the whole thing a bit (even though the technical language makes it a bit difficult to exactly know HOW wide).

The situation it reminded me of, in my personal life, is this: Fasting has always been quite difficult for me, first of all psychologically (afraid of it, afraid of not being able to sleep when I am hungry… stressing myself out over it days, maybe weeks before the fast day - also due to scrupulosity),
and also physically (used to a very different eating pattern, “one full meal” becoming very difficult as I seldom eat full meals in the sense that other people eat them (except before going to sleep maybe, but that then is more like a bog snack, bread and other stuff); plus tending to have low blood pressure and sometime when I don’t eat for too long I feel really week…)

So with all these concerns this year before Good Friday (after on Ash Wednesday I had made it, but the next morning I felt week, after running up the stairs somewherre I got dizzy)… I went to talk somebody at a church. Not the Bishop, not the church I was regsitered in at the time (as I wasn’t in that country; now I am not registered there anymore but at that time I still was), nor to the priest in the village where I was satying (he really had too much to do already, alone priest with all the Easter preparations)… I went to a church in the city and at first i talked to a ,… what is it called, deacon? Somebody who isn’t yet a priest, but alreadxy has finished studying theology)… Who told me that the fast didn’t bind me, because of all those health reasons. I asked specifically could I talk to a priest, could I get a blessing from a priest maybe… And he did get a priest for me who also listened to me and then said I wasn’t bound by the fast and gave me a blessing.

So now thinking back of it…how does this stand in terms of canon law, was this a dispensation, or was this just an acknowledgement that I wasn’t bound anyway?



It was not a dispensation. It was an acknowledgement that you were not bound to keep the fast.


But then I am a bit confused by something the priest said, about having the right for example to free somebody from — for example if somebody has given himself a too severe penance.
He said that, as I understood it, to help me trust him.

What if he had misunderstood, because I hadn’t stated it clearly enough, and thought I belonged to his community and he could dispense me? Would that make it somehow invalid in retrospect, and I would be somehow bound to ask again or even to make up for the fast? (I did do another penance).
Or am I scrupling now… :wink:


Yes, you’re being scrupulous. The priest told you that you were not obligated to keep the fast. Trust his decision, and leave it at that.


Kathrin, I am no expert in this, but in any case, it seems that Canon Law was applied. If one’s health is affected by fasting, one is not bound to fast.

The reason I am responding, not being a Canon Law expert, is that you seem to only have a foggy notion of what a Deacon is, and his role in the Church. Deacons are very important in the life of the Church, esp. since Vatican II, when the permanent Diaconate was established.

Deacons are ordained clergymen–they are not laymen. If they are in the seminary and on their way to priesthood, they are called “Transitional Deacons.” The other type of Deacon is a “Permanent Deacon”. A permanent Deacon may be a married man who is ordained to the Diaconate. He must be married before he is ordained. If he is not married, he must not marry after ordination. There are 3 levels of Ordination–Deacon, Priest, and Bishop. All Bishops and Priests are also Deacons, but a Deacon is not a priest.

The Deacon is the person who reads the Gospel at Mass, if he is assisting. He also is the Minister of the Cup. He may baptize people and witness marriages. He has faculties to preach a homily. He also, depending on the parish, may be in charge of such things as RCIA, service the poor, be in charge of marriage preparation, preside at Liturgies that are outside of Mass, etc., lead prayer services. His “boss” is the Bishop. Deacons are extremely important in the life of the Church.

Now if you knew this, I apologize, but from your post, it seems you were unsure of what role a Deacon plays. I am sure someone will answer your question about fasting.


Ok, so maybe I used the wrong English word :slight_smile: I am not in an English-speaking country.

And ok, so best for me to just let this go again and not get the questions and doubting going - been there done that… leads to nowhere!!
Must not fall back into that.:thumbsup:

Thank you for your answers, I appreciate it!


(side note to CB Catholic: So this young man is a “Transitional Deacon”, that is, he is on his way to priesthood.


Yes, if he is studying to be a priest.


The priest at my Parish makes sure that I know it is okay for me to not keep the fast since I am a type1 diabetic.


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