Do we still have to abstain from meat after 4pm on friday 24 November?

Since the Solemnity of the Nativity can start being celebrated after 4pm the day before(Just like any other solemnity and sunday), do we still have to abstain from meat after 4pm?

Kinda late to be asking about Thanksgiving… We ate turkey leftovers and did a different penance. :wink:

I think OP meant December because 24 November is not a Friday, but 24 December is.

oops, I meant 24 december in thread title

Do you belong to a rite that requires abstaining? It is not required of Latin Catholics (other than the fast before communion.)

I was going to say the same thing, but the person is from South Africa. Perhaps its a localized tradition?

Yes, Christmas Eve is a Great Fast in the Byzantine Rite. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if some Roman Catholics somewhere in the world has adopted fasting practices for Advent.

I’m just asking because Fridays are always days of penance and abstinence from meat

Good for you. Most Catholics do not abstain except during Lent,some never at all.

Why not fast anyway until the Nativity Mass? Its a good way to prepare the celebration of the coming of our Lord?

Not so. In some places (check your local diocese to find out if yours is one) Fridays are days of abstinence where one must abstain from meat.

In most places they are simply days of penance, which can mean abstinence OR you can choose some other penitential act of prayer, fasting, almsgiving (or something like going to confession on that day).

Nowhere, at least for a Latin Catholic, is a Friday (apart from Good Friday) going to be BOTH a day of abstinence from meat AND a day where some other penance (fasting in the case of Good Friday) is required. Ordinary Fridays will require EITHER abstinence OR other penance.

Now assuming your locale is one where abstinence is required on all Fridays of the year, it is a common practice for Bishops to grant dispensations from the abstinence requirement (meaning the faithful don’t have to abstain) for significant feasts. I know it is frequently done for the feasts of St Patrick and/or St Joseph which often fall on Lenten Fridays.

A dispensation has probably been granted by your bishop for the evening of the 24th at least, if not the whole day, given the high significance of the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas).

The simplest way to resolve such questions is to ask your priest, or call your local bishop’s office. They will know what is happening.

Actually all Fridays are suggested to be that way, but only Good Friday is a mandatory requirement. If the OP feels he wants to, then by all means.

I’m sure he’s well aware that he can do it anyway if he wants to. It’s hardly the point.

Of course if he felt he wanted to, then he certainly wouldn’t be here asking if he HAD to :shrug:

In the good old times the fast and abstinence rules belonged to the dioceses; usually the bishops of a nation formed the same rules. In Hungary and neighboring countries the fast for Vigil ( together with the abstinence) stopped at 2 o’clock. The same was the rule for Holy Saturday too.

Recently in the US there is no fast or abstinence requirement for the Vigils.

All Fridays throughout the year are days of penance and abstinence from meat is the norm in the Latin Catholic Church. Anything else is an alternative decided by individual episcopal conferences: removing the penitential character from the day and/or allowing abstinence from something else instead of meat and/or allowing pious acts or charitable works to substitute for abstinence.

If a solemnity falls on a Friday it isn’t a day of penance, ipso facto. So, once the solemnity of the Nativity begins on the evening of Friday 24th December 2010, the Friday penance earlier in the day (Friday in Fourth Week of Advent, feria) is over.

Thanks. So it is correct to assume that the Solemnity of the Nativity begins 4pm on 24 November?

Keeping in mind that I am not a bishop, priest, or canon lawyer - nor do I play one on television - I would say that the Solemnity of the Nativity begins when the first Vigil Mass for that Solemnity is celebrated in your location.

No, not at all! That’s one month too early.

The solemnity of the Nativity begins at the evening of the day before; as do all solemnities: so the Nativity of the Lord begins on the evening of 24th December.

As far as I am aware 4 p.m. is an arbitrary time that most dioceses in the USA have adopted and that only applies if, like the Nativity, the solemnity is a holy day of obligation.

The Church leaves it up to diocesan bishops as to what is the earliest time Mass can be celebrated on the previous evening to fulfil the precept on a holy day of obligation. To me it appears from this Forum that most American dioceses have set the time as 4 p.m.

Where I live there is no prescribed time. My national episcopal conference (England & Wales) have not set a time. Likewise, my diocesan bishop hasn’t. You would have to check with either your own episcopal conference or diocese if there is a prescribed time for where you live.

To me the natural time would be as daylight turns in to dusk, i.e. when evening commences.

In practical terms, the Nativity will begin in individual places when they celebrate their first liturgy of the Nativity, be that First Vespers, Vigil Mass, Solemn Vigil, or Midnight Mass.

Sorry, I don’t know why I keep saying November instead of December

I was beginning to wonder. Have you started the celebrations a little early?:smiley:

I also live in a region where abstinence from meat is enjoined on all Fridays, except solemnities.

For me, I will pray the First Vespers for Christmas before starting the Christmas festivities, since I don’t take part in the Vigil Mass for Christmas. This normally takes place late in the afternoon (e.g. 5pm).

For those who don’t celebrate the Office, or take part in the Vigil Mass, I’ve no suggestion on how to proceed. You could perhaps check with your Priest, but I’d suspect that once the sun has set, your conscience should be able to indulge in the feasting without any qualms, since the canonical hour for Christmas Vespers has come.

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