Fast this Friday Dec. 27

Is there a fast obligation this Friday? It’s St . John the Evangelist today so I was wondering if there a fast obligation this Friday?

I don’t believe so. :shrug:

To be precise, the only obligation to fast is Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. But you are right that every Friday of the year there is an obligation to do some sort of penance, not necessarily fasting.

This is how it’s been explained to me at least: All eight days in the Octave of Christmas (Dec. 25 to Jan. 1) are Solemnities, that is, they are treated as Sundays, so the obligation to do penance on Friday is removed.

Not that I know of, we are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

We need to be careful not to misinform the faithful who read these posts. The Church upholds that Fridays are days of penance, and encourages all to voluntarily enter into the spirit of penance. However, there is NO obligation binding under pain of sin if one does not do penance.

Clear as a bell from EWTN:

Abstaining from meat on Friday

Question from on 01-27-2007: Is it true that one must perform a penitential or charitable act on any Friday if one does not abstain from meat?

Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 01-28-2007: In the United States, Catholics are obliged to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday (along with fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday). There is no provision permitting them to substitute other acts of penance for abstaining for meat on Fridays during Lent. **Other Fridays are penitential days and the faithful are encouraged to do acts of penance, but this is not strictly obligatory in the United States.

**Kindly note that JCL means he is a canon lawyer.

This applies only to certain regions of the United States, keep in mind. Everywhere else, penance is still required on Fridays.

If you are still in doubt, consult with your local Bishop - or just do penance anyway. Better to accidentally end up in Heaven than accidentally end up in Hell.

Are you advocating a scrupulous conscience, Judith? I know of no official teaching where some dioceses require penance under pain of sin, and others do not. The USCCB’s directive was meant for all of the USA.

Nevertheless, Lk. 12:48 allows for those who are unsure of the gravity of sin, saying, “But the one who did not know the Master’s will, but did what was deserving of stripes, will receive a fewer stripes.”

I would hate to see people become scrupulous and perform a penance just to escape what some have frightened them into believing; i.e., they may wind up in hell. That is not a worthy intention, do you think?

I am “advocating” that it’s okay to do more than the minimum. The question should not be “what is the least I can get away with, and still be considered a child of God?” but rather, “what am I, personally, capable of doing for my Lord and my God?”

The legalist is not the one who is advocating to love more than the law requires, but the one who is advocating to do only the least that the law will allow, and looking for loop-holes to get out of doing even that least amount.

Jesus always advocated to do more than what the law requires. He said, when the law demands that you walk one mile, go instead for two miles.

According to Fr. Z, Friday penance is still required this week.

In the Byzantine rite, we have the week off. :smiley:

Fr. Z is in Italy, under a different Episcopal Conference. That may be true for him. In the USA, penance is encouraged, but not obligatory under pain of sin. I would believe the Canon Lawyer quoting from EWTN and the USCCB directives here in the US before Fr. Z. There have been scores of wildly varying opinions from laity on this topic, and just as many threads closed on account of some headstrong opinions that opt to proffer their own opinion of the legislation. Sorry to say.

No, Fr. Z does not live in Italy, though he frequently travels there.

Thanks for the link! :slight_smile:

Then why was it necessary to say that people may accidentally wind up in hell? You promoted that it is a “mortal” sin in the closed thread where you participated recently. There is NO statement whatsoever from the Bishops that can be interpreted with such strict rigor.

The legalist is not the one who is advocating to love more than the law requires, but the one who is advocating to do only the least that the law will allow, and looking for loop-holes to get out of doing even that least amount.

For some, that may be all that is required of them until such time as they become more devout and strive for greater perfection. It is not sinful to simply abstain and not do voluntary penance. In the same manner, imperfect contrition is all that is required for a valid confession. Hopefully, the person will strive for higher motivation as they grow in holiness, but for them, the minimum is permissible. Laity ought not to demand more than necessary from others and attach obligations to it, unless the Church Herself does so.

Ok, yes I meant penance, like not eating meat. If you talk to people from Europe they say that Catholics are not allowed to eat meat every Friday. I wonder what the Vatican actually says, and why do Europeans who are Catholics don’t eat meat every Friday while North Americans do.

This is a disciplinary matter, subject to the Local Ordinary of any country - in fact, the UK has reinstated Friday abstinence a couple of years ago. They may not eat meat on any Friday throughout the year.

By following American rules while living outside of the mainland United States. Keep in mind that this is an international Forum; not an American Forum. The answers given should fit every situation world-wide; not just the American situation.

This may be a cute phrase but you do realize that no one ever accidentally ends up in hell.


I can’t imagine anybody going to hell for accidentally, and in good faith, following what they believe to be Church teaching on this matter. Mortal sin requires grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent. Seems that full knowledge would be lacking in this situation.

I am equally certain that 100% of the people currently in Hell were not seriously expecting to end up there. :slight_smile:

Exactly. Here is a post running concurrently in a thread in L&S by Brendan, well-known to CAF-ers for his conservativism and traditional leanings. He has this to say:

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