Lenten Friday banquet


I’m attenting a business conference during the Lent, where one of the free features is a networking banquet held on a Friday.

Now, I could certainly eat sparingly, skip the meat or just order a vegetarian menu, but rather my concern here is with the whole banquet thing. It’s probably going to be large tables and a lot of talking, nothing like a dance floor or whatever (which would be a no-no), though there might be alcohol and some cheering when people seriously get into their cups. Which I wouldn’t be doing, but I would be there anyway.

So I need an external opinion on this, in case I’m just being scrupulous.


I don’t think you’re being scrupulous, it’s a good question.

My opinion is that you can still easily observe Friday abstinence since it will be a buffet and that the behaviour of others is not in your control anyway (drinking, cheering, shouting, etc.). Besides, I don’t think the word banquet in this situation implies wanton luxury at all.

Of course, I would personally consider having to sit through a work related banquet as extremely penitential! :smiley:


Oops! I assumed it would be a buffet. If not, the vegetarian menu would be perfect.


Personally, I don’t understand the dilemma.

If I were at a conference on a Lenten Friday I would enjoy my meatless/vegetarian meal and participate in whatever activities were taking place. Good Friday would be a different situation, but I wouldn’t have a problem on the other Fridays of Lent. If you’ve given up alcohol for Lent then you could limit yourself to non-alcoholic drinks. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you participate in conference activities?


Go and avoid eating meat. That’s all, just don’t eat any meat.


Me either.


Maybe the OP thought a work related conference (ugh! :yawn:) might somehow count as partying it up during Lent when he’s endeavouring to have a more spiritual experience of it.


Is dancing forbidden during Lent? I’ve never heard the before.


Nah, not a conference but something expressly called a banquet (‘post-conference banquet’ or something along these lines), which is why I have some difficulty reconciling it with the penitential nature of both Lent and Friday. Like I said, it’s just going to be food served in a decorated hall full of people, probably involving some alcohol and some people talking loudly, toasting each other and making jokes perhaps, from what I can expect. Nothing strictly outlawed, but not exactly the atmosphere of a penitential day, either.

I’m not from the States. In my corner of Europe dancing has traditionally always been forbidden in Lent, as in not the moves per se (e.g. not classes or competitions) but rather partying. I’d personally struggle to reconcile dancing with the penitential nature of the season anyway, as dancing is something of joy and celebration. However, our translation of the Precepts of the Church (the 4th in particular) is markedly different from the standard English version, and we operate under a primatial decree from around the time of Vatican 2, which is probably the cause of the difference. Your translation simply reaffirms the need to observe feasts and abstinence days established by the Church, ours directly bans festivities (‘loud merry-making’) in Lent. Wedding parties are not allowed, a prom would require dispensation from the local parish pastor and so on.


If you’re observing a Lenten fast, just eat what you are allowed. You’d be surprised how little attention people pay to what others eat and drink. I went through a severe pre-op diet, and during several social events no one commented on my limited eating. Smiling and being courteous to people during a work event would be my penance. :slight_smile:

Remember the words of Christ.

16And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.


You might want to bring a stash of food, in case there’s not enough vegetarian food on the menu to constitute a meal.


Nah, I can safely go without food when everybody’s eating around me, it doesn’t bother me. Staying hungry isn’t a problem either. Just the issue of contributing to scandal/relaxed view of Lenten discipline by attenting what’s expressly called a banquet. Most of those attenting would be at least cultural Catholics (not atheists or some other faith where Lent doesn’t exist)…


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