Liberal Fasting rules


#1

I’ve seen recent fasting guidelines . They are very ‘easy’ , what is the idea behind weakening fasting rules after Vatican || ?


#2

Can you explain what you mean by weakening the fasting rules?


#3

I am under the impression that Lenten fasting rules are the absolute minimum that Catholics should do. This is so people who do heavy labor don't put their health and safety at risk. For people who lead fairly sedentary lifestyles like me, more is expected. Of course, I may be mistaken.


#4

Well, even the rules of one meal and two others that don’t add up to more than the one main meal can be extrapolated to those who work physical jobs. They’ll still be eating more than those who don’t do the extra work.


#5

I do not do heavy work, unless I am off work and at home. However, I have difficulty fasting. If I go too long on too little, my blood sugar gets all out of whack, I start to get jittery, light-headed and unbearably irritable. I have been fasting these last few weeks (on Fridays) in accordance to the rule of one meal and I just don’t know that I can do it. At some point I am going to discuss this with my priest and see if there might be some other allowable penance. I do not mind being hungry (okay, I do mind, but its bearable), but I do not want to do anything stupid.


#6

[quote="1ke, post:2, topic:314514"]
Can you explain what you mean by weakening the fasting rules?

[/quote]

Shortly after Vatican II the Lenten Fasting and Abstinence laws were relaxed from fasting every day except Sundays in Lent, and complete abstinence on Fridays and Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Wednesdays and Saturdays were partial abstinence in which meat was permitted during the principle meal, allowing two additional small meals, if necessary, and they cannot add up to the amount of one meal.

They were relaxed with the expectation that Catholics would continue to fast and abstain out of devoutness, rather than out of the fear of committing a mortal sin. Unfortunately that didn't really happen.


#7

[quote="pnewton, post:5, topic:314514"]
I do not do heavy work, unless I am off work and at home. However, I have difficulty fasting. If I go too long on too little, my blood sugar gets all out of whack, I start to get jittery, light-headed and unbearably irritable. I have been fasting these last few weeks (on Fridays) in accordance to the rule of one meal and I just don't know that I can do it. At some point I am going to discuss this with my priest and see if there might be some other allowable penance. I do not mind being hungry (okay, I do mind, but its bearable), but I do not want to do anything stupid.

[/quote]

When I came back to the Church, a number of years ago, I tried fasting. Yes, it was only the little bit that is asked of us.

I passed out. :shrug:

I don't fast anymore. My doctor and husband would have a conniption.


#8

Even prior to Vat II, Pope Pius XII relaxed the rules from midnight on Saturday to Mass on Sunday so it became 3 hours before communion. The wife and I still follow the “old” rule because we choose to. :slight_smile:


#9

Could you provide a link to verify these days of fasting and abstinence . I certainly cannot recall some of what you have said .


#10

Physical mortifications (fasting and abstinence) are important because we have physical bodies, but spiritual mortifications are even more important. Do not focus so much on what you can or cannot eat (or what other people are or are not eating!), but focus on being humble, considerate, gentle with others, pleasant to be around, forgiving. That is usually 100 times harder than going without meat!


#11

[quote="petronus, post:9, topic:314514"]
Could you provide a link to verify these days of fasting and abstinence . I certainly cannot recall some of what you have said .

[/quote]

I got them out of a moral theology manual for priests. I'd have to find them online, which I am sure you're just as capable as I am, so I'll leave that up to you.

As for documentation on the relaxing of the fasting and abstinence rules, here is the Apostolic Constitution Pope Paul the VI issued:
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19660217_paenitemini_en.html


#12

What about sleeping in? I slept in this morning (I take online classes and work two days a week).Would sleeping in on Ash Wednesday be cheating?


#13

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:11, topic:314514"]
I got them out of a moral theology manual for priests. I'd have to find them online, which I am sure you're just as capable as I am, so I'll leave that up to you.

As for documentation on the relaxing of the fasting and abstinence rules, here is the encyclical Pope Paul the VI issued:
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19660217_paenitemini_en.html

[/quote]

Yes I have read Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini of 1966 , but I also lived many years prior to 1966 and do not recall the days of fasting and abstinence as you related them .

It might help if you were to give me the name of the manual you refer to .

I have books and missals prior to 1966 and none of them describe what you say .


#14

[quote="petronus, post:13, topic:314514"]
Yes I have read Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini of 1966 , but I also lived many years prior to 1966 and do not recall the days of fasting and abstinence as you related them .

It might help if you were to give me the name of the manual you refer to .

I have books and missals prior to 1966 and none of them describe what you say .

[/quote]

It's Jones' Moral Theology. It's the last edition prior to the changes. My parents remember all the prior fasting laws.


#15

Thanks .

Problem solved .

I looked up abstinence in “A Catholic Dictionary” 15th edition published in 1952 .

It says : " The abstinence days of the Universal Church are all Fridays , except those on which Holidays of Obligation may fall ( unless a Holiday of Obligation fall in Lent ) , Ash Wedenesday , the Saturdays in Lent , the Ember days , and the Vigils of Pentecost , the Assumption , All Saints , and Christmas .By special dispensation in England (1) Boxing Day is never a day of abstinence ; (2) The Lenten abstinence is transferred from Saturday to Wednesday ; (3) when two days of abstinence immediately follow each other , the abstinence is dispensed on the second of them except in Lent . "

So the problem I had in your saying that Saturdays in Lent were days of abstinence is because that here in England they were not because it had been transferred to Wednesday .

Still I have a problem , and that is because I cannot recall Wednesdays in Lent being days of abstinence .

Again " A Catholic Dictionary " comes to the rescue . It quotes Louis Thomassin , a French theologian . Thomassin illustrates the custom of the West , by quoting a number of statutes , etc. , prescribing sometimes abstinence from flesh , sometimes fasting and abstinence on Friday . His earliest authority is Nicolas I ( 858-867 ) , and he concludes , " even after the year 1400 , the Saturday abstinence was rather voluntary than of obligation among the laity ; but the Friday abstinence had long since passed into a law . "

So the Saturday abstinence , which would be Wednesday in England , was voluntary and did not become an established practice .


#16

When I made my first Communion we were to fast from food for 3 hours and drinks 1 hour. We were told that this was new and it had been food or drink from midnight, (This was 1962)
I was young enough that I had to abstain (I think it was age seven then) but didn’t have to fast. I don’t remember having to abstain from meat any day but Friday, even in Lent. I have read historical novels or heard from other countries where there was more days of no meat.


#17

Jack what has that to do with anything? Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, so you don’t have to go to Mass unless you are inclined to. (Personally, I rather go to regular daily mass. I wonder where do all these people come from who could go to daily mass?) Sleeping all day would certainly insure that you would abstain and fast.


#18

[quote="pnewton, post:5, topic:314514"]
I do not do heavy work, unless I am off work and at home. However, I have difficulty fasting. If I go too long on too little, my blood sugar gets all out of whack, I start to get jittery, light-headed and unbearably irritable. I have been fasting these last few weeks (on Fridays) in accordance to the rule of one meal and I just don't know that I can do it. At some point I am going to discuss this with my priest and see if there might be some other allowable penance. I do not mind being hungry (okay, I do mind, but its bearable), but I do not want to do anything stupid.

[/quote]

If you suffer from diabetes (either I or II) or some other medical issue that makes fasting inadvisable you're automatically exempt. Some diabetics, especially insulin-dependent, need to control blood sugar very closely.

I am eating a normal breakfast (which isn't very heavy to begin with: cereal and yogurt except a full breakfast on Saturday mornings), a light lunch (muffins and yogurt) and a normal dinner. I keep a couple of apples in my lunch bag in case I need a bite between meals as I also have to watch my blood sugar.

For Lent I also cut out desserts but will eat a fruit after dinner, usually an apple or some grapes. We sometimes have red wine during the week outside of Lent. Sundays only during Lent, and meatless Fridays.


#19

[quote="corsair, post:8, topic:314514"]
Even prior to Vat II, Pope Pius XII relaxed the rules from midnight on Saturday to Mass on Sunday so it became 3 hours before communion. The wife and I still follow the "old" rule because we choose to. :)

[/quote]

When I was a child and the old rule was in place, I remember a woman fainting just outside the church on a hot summer morning after Mass; it was high Mass which I think finished at around 11 or so. I understand that was a frequent problem with the old rule, which is probably why it was changed.


#20

Why do people apply earthly rules to this stuff? If you break or bend a fasting rule who is the one that is really going to suffer? On Ash Wednesday I chose not to put anything in my body except water. I do this for my own reasons. I get a kick out of people who try to bend the rules of the Church.


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