I am so glad someone brought this subject up today. I was thinking a little earlier that I wish someone would bring this up every Friday because so many Catholics are completely ignorant of what is required on this day.
I know Jimmy Akin says that no penance is required, but I believe he is wrong on this one. Code of Canon Law 1250 says:
Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Link for this:
Very good article about it here:
. . .
the US bishops encourage all American Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays — but if we can find a more effective type of penance to perform on Fridays, we are invited to do so. Our bishops have given each of us the green light to decide for ourselves how best to make our Fridays penitential. How sad, therefore, that most Catholics have wrongly interpreted this as meaning simply that “we don’t need to abstain from meat on Fridays anymore,” without replacing that abstinence with another form of penance! It is just as sad to realize that most of our diocesan clergy do not remind the Catholics under their care of this important obligation.
How many Catholics are genuinely unaware that they are actually required to perform some kind of penance every Friday? Sincere, practicing Catholics who honestly do not know of this obligation are of course not culpable for failing to follow it; but the fact remains that they should be made aware of this disciplinary rule.
Why wouldn’t we want to do some sort of penance on Friday, the day our Lord died? I think that to mark each Friday in a special way helps bring to mind, at least in a small way, the price that was paid to give us life.