Failing to do penance on Friday

Is failing to do any kind of penance (abstinence from meat, praying the rosary, etc.) on a Friday grave enough to require sacramental confession? Is it a mortal sin? :frowning:

Oh dear…this is a new one to me. Am I doing something else wrong? I need an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with myself!

I was wondering this myself - I usually try not to eat meat on friday (though this can vary, sometimes I give blood as my penance, sometimes I do some other work) but yesterday at dinner I was having cream of potato soup when I realized there was bacon in it.

I finished my soup so as to not let it waste and made another penance for myself.

Sometimes it just floors me that I went all through Catholic school, taught CCD, and study SO much…and still don’t know about some of these basic things. What am I missing? Perhaps I just need to memorize the Catechism.

this kind of thinking is exactly why the disciplines and rules surrounding fast, abstinence and other penitential practices has been relaxed. I already know nobody wants to hear it, so I warn you in advance if you are a tender flower who pouts anytime somebody speaks plainly, do not read any further. These practices are intended to foster spiritual growth because they are tried and true by generations of saints. They are meant to be undertaken out of love for Jesus Christ and desire to conform oneself to Christ. If they are undertaken solely due to fear of hell their merit is diminished if not entirely eliminated.

[quote=puzzleannie]this kind of thinking is exactly why the disciplines and rules surrounding fast, abstinence and other penitential practices has been relaxed. I already know nobody wants to hear it, so I warn you in advance if you are a tender flower who pouts anytime somebody speaks plainly, do not read any further. These practices are intended to foster spiritual growth because they are tried and true by generations of saints. They are meant to be undertaken out of love for Jesus Christ and desire to conform oneself to Christ. If they are undertaken solely due to fear of hell their merit is diminished if not entirely eliminated.
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Whether or not fear might spur on “imperfect” observance, the question remains. I don’t have a good answer to it, but here’s two cents:

On the one hand, as the current discipline is a commutation of the abstinence days bound up in a precept which, AFAIK (I’m too young), carried the penalty of mortal sin.

On the other hand, penance on all Fridays is a discipline that I had to find for myself, never once hearing about it for 20 years of my life, 10 of which were in Catholic schools, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything based on what I’ve been taught. The USCCB document enjoining acts of penance doesn’t carry within it any explicit obligation, but it seems to be only a recognized deviation from the form of observation of days of fasting and abstinence, and not an abrogation of the obligation to observe all Fridays as penitential days. From this perspective, it could possibly be considered a mortal sin

It’s hard to make an informed judgment when the very people to whom you should turn for guidance have omitted even informing you of the obligation to begin with. I think that’s been a tremendous pastoral failure and it severely undermines credibility when teachers withhold information.

Given that I’ve already ranted for a paragraph, I’ll conclude by saying that there’s also a generational gap in what Catholics have been taught constitutes sin and even grave sin. I’ve heard that it was once considered a venial sin to talk (I presume unnecessarily) in church; now Catholics my age carry on rather loud conversations on all topics in church even when people are trying to pray. They’ve never been told it’s inappropriate and definitely not that it’s sinful. That regards venial sin, but I think on the whole my generation has less of an awareness of sin and a higher (or lower, depending on the perspective) bar for grave matter, and this based upon our Catholic instruction.

Here’s another one for ya then:

A few weeks ago, I was told during confession with a monsignor that things I know for sure are mortal sins are not. I was told not to become guilty, and to get away from the whole “venial - mortal thing”, and to stop thinking of sin in this way.

To say I was floored is an understatement. I would have forgotten the words to the Act of Contrition. If I had been asked to offer it, that is.

S

[quote=slewi]Here’s another one for ya then:

A few weeks ago, I was told during confession with a monsignor that things I know for sure are mortal sins are not. I was told not to become guilty, and to get away from the whole “venial - mortal thing”, and to stop thinking of sin in this way.

To say I was floored is an understatement. I would have forgotten the words to the Act of Contrition. If I had been asked to offer it, that is.

S
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Wow!
That is just wrong all the way around.

Is failing to do any kind of penance (abstinence from meat, praying the rosary, etc.) on a Friday grave enough to require sacramental confession? Is it a mortal sin?

Colin Donovan discussed this a few weeks back on the 10/14 open line programs if you listen to it (about 2 minutes in):
ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?pgnu=2&SeriesID=6725

[quote=Madia]Colin Donovan discussed this a few weeks back on the 10/14 open line programs if you listen to it (about 2 minutes in):
ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?pgnu=2&SeriesID=6725
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Thank you for the link.

So, according to Colin Donovan (and I’m supposing he’s trustworthy and orthodox), it is not a grave sin unless there is blatant disregard for the obligation or even the notion of penance… But is he right? Isn’t failing to uphold a precept of the Church a mortal sin (which is, I think, what Andreas Hofer was trying to get at)?

Tomorrow’s Sunday and I don’t want to receive our Lord if I am not in a state of sanctifying grace… but it’s been a week since my last Communion so I’m really hoping I can get this cleared up before Mass… :frowning:

Its my understanding that intentional failure to fast or abstain on appointed days is a mortal sin against the Third Commandment.

It was intentional… I was too lazy to pray the rosary and went to sleep instead…

Thank you everyone for your replies. I think, considering everything, it would be better if I did not receive tomorrow…

Although I’m dreading what the priest is going to say when I go on Monday and say “my last Confession was on Friday”… :banghead:

So, according to Colin Donovan (and I’m supposing he’s trustworthy and orthodox), it is not a grave sin unless there is blatant disregard for the obligation or even the notion of penance… But is he right? Isn’t failing to uphold a precept of the Church a mortal sin (which is, I think, what Andreas Hofer was trying to get at)?

First, I want to note that I struggle with scrupulousity. This site might help:
mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupulosity.htm

Now, there are three requirements for a sin to be mortal (grave matter, full knowledge/firm belief, fully consent). Lets look at the situation. Is not doing penance/charitable works on Fridays outside of Lent grave matter? From what I’ve heard no. I’ve never seen it in writing or remember hearing someone talk about it being grave matter. Obviouslly you don’t have full knowledge of this or you wouldn’t be asking. Now comes the firm belief part.

Here’s a question scrupulous people should ask themselves: Do I firmbly believe that what I did is wrong or do I fear that what I did is wrong?

Tomorrow’s Sunday and I don’t want to receive our Lord if I am not in a state of sanctifying grace… but it’s been a week since my last Communion so I’m really hoping I can get this cleared up before Mass…

Here’s my advice: Talk to the priest before Mass and ask him what to do. Whatever he tells you obey him and act without fear. For scrupulous people obedience to their confessor is probably one of the best remedies.

Is Karl Keating around for this one?
The reason I ask is that I subscribe to THIS ROCK, and I think it was in THIS ROCK that I read that in the United States Catholics are not “required” to do any penance on Friday, but rather that we are “exhorted” or “urged” to do a Friday penance.
I don’t remember what issue it was in, forgive me.
God bless,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)

usccb.org/dpp/penitential.htm

Go to the link above and scroll down the page till you find
Friday penitential practices or something along those lines.
It merely says we are “urged” to perform acts of penance on a Friday.
Love,
Jaypeeto4 (aka Jaypeeto3)

Here is the link Jaypeeto4 was probably recalling: jimmyakin.org/2004/07/more_on_friday_.html

The bottom line as I understand it, is that the “rules” give the national conferences of bishops very broad discretion to determine how traditional pennance will be observed. In the U.S. there are specific rules for the Lenten season, but outside of Lent there are just “reccomendations”.

Maybe I’m a lil too conservative, but I think that in order for there to be unity, Catholicism can’t be practiced different ways in different countries.

That said, if other countries are required to do this on Fridays, and Americans are ENCOURAGED to do this on Fridays, then I feel I ought to do it.

Also, in consideration of fasting, we’re one the most “blessed” countries in the world when it comes to food. Seems silly that the US would have discretion, and a country with a shortage of food might not. I know it’s not about that, but really…what would the reason be for rules to be so drastically different? It can’t be a mortal sin in one country and not in another, IMO. On issues of posture, etc…I could see that, but regarding a potentially grave matter? How can that be subjective?

[quote=Cradle]It was intentional… I was too lazy to pray the rosary and went to sleep instead…

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As far as I know, praying the rosary is entirely optional and not even a venial sin can be attached to not praying it. Obviously, there are many graces to be gained by saying it.

Scott

[quote=Cradle]It was intentional… I was too lazy to pray the rosary and went to sleep instead…

Thank you everyone for your replies. I think, considering everything, it would be better if I did not receive tomorrow…

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I am at a loss to find anything in the laws of the Church which obligates you to pray the rosary, and would make it a sin if you got tired and did not do so. To separate yourself from the Eucharist for something that is not a sin seems to me to devalue and misunderstand the sacrament of Eucharist as well as the sacrament of penance.

I was told by a representative of our archdiocese (Atlanta) that Friday penance is still a requirement in the United States, under penalty of venial sin. (I didn’t think to ask whether it’s any different during the season of Lent–wonder if it’s more serious during Lent?) I’ve decided to do it, for this reason, and also for the reason of growing closer to Christ. I decided to abstain from meat, because it seemed like it would be easier to segue into Lent that way. However, I forget alot. This last Friday I had to quick do two decades of the rosary at 11:55 p.m. as a substitute penance (I can relate to the too-tired to do a whole rosary!).

There’s so much confusion surrounding this issue. I think it’s because the bishops’ statement is worded in a confusing way, maybe. And obviously, Jimmy Akin and This Rock have a different view. But there can be only one right answer. I tend to think the archdiocese is more likely to be correct.

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