I'm unsure of what to do

I’m unsure of how to go about something that I need to do.

I need to speak with a Priest about multiple issues, one of which is that I think I have scrupulosity. Of course, I should speak with a Priest about that. I intend to do just that, however, I’ve reached a bit of a road block.

It is my understanding that those with scrupulosity are supposed to have complete obedience to their chosen Confessor and Spiritual Guide. However…

I had previously spoken (twice, in fact) with one of the Priests of my parish about questions I have, in life, and related to scripture. One of the things I asked him was, “Outside of Lent, do we Catholics have to avoid eating meat on Fridays?” I had heard that it wasn’t just during Lent that we abstained from meat, but all year. Despite being raised Catholic, we somehow never did this. I guess my mom was never taught to abstain from meat on Friday, though she now recalls that in Catholic School, they never served meat on Fridays. The Priest told me no; that many people do this practice, and take it as a requirement, when in fact, it is not required.

With that answer, I went about as I had always done. But over my time on this website, I see so many people not only saying that the meat abstinence is required (unless, in my case of being a U.S. resident, we substitute it with an equal penance if we eat meat), but also giving links and blocks of text that state it. Now that I think of it, I don’t know where the sources come from, some kind of Canonical Law book or something? Anyway, the point is, if everyone here in CAF is right, and that the meat abstinence (with equal penance substitution for U.S. residents) is required, then that means my Priest told me something that was not correct with the Catholic teachings.

Normally, that would not be a huge issue for me. Yes, Priests should know Catholic Law, but everyone makes mistakes.

However, as a possible scrupulous, it makes me uneasy. If I’m supposed to completely trust him with all my Spiritual decisions, how can I be sure he won’t say something else that is not correct? How do I know what he’s telling me is true? How can I not doubt what he says?

I’m unsure of what to do in this situation. Should I bring it up to him? Will he think I’m trying to correct him? Would that seem condescending? But then I think of the kind of person he is, and I think he would understand. I’m a shy person, so it’s sometimes hard for me to communicate difficult things with others.

Do any of you have any thoughts at all? Even if it isn’t advice, I really appreciate your input. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Do not correct your priest. Back in the “olden days”, before Vatican II, Catholics were required (under mortal sin) to not eat meat of any kind on every Friday of the year. After Vatican II, the Church lifted this requirement and instead left it up to the individual to do some act of penance on every Friday and abstaining from meat met this requirement. At the time, it was not really made known to the laity, that some act of penance was required and were just told that we no longer had to abstain from on Friday, this is true. Now, most Catholics do not abstain from meat on Friday (it is no longer required), but overlook the penance part, too.

abstaining from meat on Friday is no longer a requirement since Vatican II. I would stop reading the traditionalist sites that claim to still promote this as fact for all. It isn’t. I would stop worrying about it and follow what the Church currectly teaches and not what the Church did teach in the past over 50 years ago

One is still supposed to refrain from eating meat *or substitute with another penetential act. *Even now.

No meat on Friday is now reserved for Lent. That also includes Ash Wednesday. At least, that’s my understanding. :shrug:

St. Francis is correct. I am not entirely sure about the US, but here in Canada the bishops simply stated that Friday abstinence *may *be replaced with a special act of penance. However, people seem to forget the act of penance part.

If you find it difficult to do the act of penance on Fridays, then you are still free to abstain from meat.


Your Priest is correct that *in the USA *one is not obliged to abstain from Meat on the Fridays outside of Lent. Such is a good practice and can be recommended but it is not a sin if one has a hamburger. Such authority to make that decision was given by the Pope to Bishops Conferences.

Will one find that various writers have different interpretations of if one is bound in the USA to substitute something? Yes. The difficulty lies in the way the document from the USA Conference was written way back in the 1960’s. In any case -*certainly *one need not give up meat. certainly one may substitute prayer, charity, etc.

Now does Friday outside of Lent remain a day of Penance? Yes certainly. So -I]practically -penance is something to do especially on Fridays (even if as the one sides argues it is not obligation). Penance in life can take a variety of forms (prayer, reading scripture, acts of charity, giving up meat etc). Abstinence from Meat is always a good one.

Now as scrupulosity.

Has the Priest in Confession noted you struggle with scruples? If you do struggle with such - yes you really need to find a Priest whom you trust who thinks with the Church.

A person with scrupulosity --ought to have a *regular confessor *who can direct them --and even give them some general principles to follow -to apply (for them due to their particular scruples -they are usually not for those with a normal conscience).

The way forward would be for him to follow the direction of their chosen confessor who knows them and their scrupulous difficulties -except of course in the case of manifest sin -like he tells one contraception is ok or murder of his annoying secretary is good etc.

For they can be in a rather different boat than others. They with the direction of their confessor and the principles given - then act contrary to their scruples - ignore them -(using the older language- despise them), dismiss them–following that direction and the principles given. Such is a large key in the age old approach in the Church for scruples.

It is very important for you to get such a regular confessor who can know you and your difficulties and guide you. Do not let any scruples keep you from such.

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