fast days

I wonder if somebody here can explain something I read online; plus answer a question I have asked myself before.

The link is about fast days. As far as I know, the only obligatory, binding fast days in the Roman Catholic Chruch today are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (correct me if I am wrong :wink: )
Before, the 1983 Code, there were quite a few more, for example the Eves of some feasts (like now, coming up, of Pentecost; but also of Christmas and some other feasts, right?), Ember Days, etc.

In this link, at the end of the second-to-last paragraph, it says that in the US four vigils are fast days (Christmas, Pentecost, Assumption and All Saints). Now this is very confusing to read to me… ok, I now read that the citation is from 1909, but why is it on the internet like this? Maybe somebody can explain?

Personally I am not in the US, but still I am curious.

And this leads me to the other question, one that I have asked myself before: Can a bishops’ conference of a country/area decide that there are other fast days for that country/area apart from Good friday and Ash Wednesday? For example say some of the older days have to be kept again, by pain of sin? Or do they not have that authority?

Kathrin

No the older Fasts etc are not in effect.

Normally what happens now is that there are penitential days (Fridays, Ash Weds, Good Friday and the Fridays of Lent…) set by the Church (Pope Paul VI, St. Pope John Paul II).

The local Conference of Bishops usually determines what such are locally in terms of penance - what kind etc. (if they wish to alter the universal discipline…for example allow a substitute penance on Fridays outside of Lent etc.)

Is there a list anywhere of the old fast days? I’ve been thinking about voluntary fasting, and such a calendar might be a good guideline for me. :slight_smile:

I’m going to venture a guess that the information comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia. Remember that it was published before the 1917 Code of Canon Law and certainly before the 1983 Code. One of the purposes of the 1917 Code was to “standardize” practices like this throughout the world (not complete uniformity, but a certain continuity).

Personally I am not in the US, but still I am curious.

And this leads me to the other question, one that I have asked myself before: Can a bishops’ conference of a country/area decide that there are other fast days for that country/area apart from Good friday and Ash Wednesday?

Yes.

For example say some of the older days have to be kept again, by pain of sin? Or do they not have that authority?

Kathrin

Still, yes. See canon 1253

The Ember days are three days set apart for fasting, abstinence, and prayer during each of the four seasons of the year on:

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after:

[LIST=1]
*]St. Lucy (December 13)
*]First Sunday of Lent
*]Pentecost
*]Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14)
[/LIST]
They may also be extended beyond three days and repeated during the year.

aquinasandmore.com/catholic-articles/ember-days-in-the-catholic-liturgical-year/article/236/sort/relevance/productsperpage/12/layout/grid/currentpage/1/keywords/ember%20days

The previous (1917) Code of Canon Law: Canon 1252.

§ 1. The law of abstinence alone is to be observed on all Fridays.
§ 2. The law of abstinence and fast together is to be observed on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays and Saturdays of Lent, the Ember days [all day], and on the Vigils of Pentecost, the Assumption, All Saints, and the Nativity.
§ 3. The law of fast alone is to be observed on the other days of Lent.
§ 4. On Sundays and days of obligation the law ceases except on a feast of obligation during Lent; and the vigils are not anticipated; likewise the law ceases on Holy Saturday at noon.

Thank you all for your replies and infos.
Well, I informed myself about how it is for the place where I’m at. :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.