Is violating the Lenten penance a mortal sin?

The other day at a church function my pastor was nice enough to buy some brownies for two of my friends. (He didn’t buy one for me because he knew that I’d given up sweets for Lent.)

But, as it turns out, both of my friends *also *had given up chocolate / sweets for Lent. So one of them (Friend “A”) refused the brownie.

And then I ate the brownie – knowing that it would violate my Lenten sacrifice – because I was afraid the priest would feel awkward if he was rejected by people for whom he had tried to perform an act of kindness.

THEN, the other friend (Friend “B”), asked me if *she *should eat hers. I neglected to ask, but I assumed that she was unsure because she, too, had given up chocolate / sweets for Lent. I told her to go ahead and eat it, and she did.

What is my culpability here? Did I commit a grave sin by violating my own Lenten sacrifice and then encouraging somebody else to do the same?

Dear Just,

Since you didn’t undertake your Lenten penances under the pain of sin, for you to relax your adherence to them is not sinful.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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