Meat & Holy Days

This is something I’m struggling to understand. I know the “Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven…” passage, but that doesn’t answer question I’ve got.

Meat on Lenten Fridays. In the US it’s grave matter to eat meat on a Lenten Friday. From what I’ve read that’s not so in Canada. Given that the bishop conference can take away the meat obligation there must be nothing intrinsically wrong with eating meat on a Lenten Friday. (I’m guessing they couldn’t say abortion was no longer prohibited for example.) And then again with Holy Days of Obligation where the US has 8 to Canada’s 2 (and Hong Kong’s 1.)

So now here I am wondering why it’s a sin to miss a Holy Day or eat meat on a Lenten Friday if the bishops can just do away with the obligation. And I’m also confused that if they’re able to remit the obligation, why is it even grave matter in the first place if it’s something that’s completely in their control? Why would they make more grave matter that people could commit?

This is just confusing to me. So if anyone has any explanations, could you help me out?

Eating meat is not in itself sinful, but eating meat in direct disobedience of your bishops conference’s mandate is a sin.

While the CCCB has not mandated abstinence from meat on Lenten Fridays for all Canadian Catholics, at least one Bishop has imposed it on his diocese.

As you correctly point out, it’s not a sin because there’s something intrinsically evil about eating meat on a Friday.

The sinfulness comes from the deliberate refusal to follow a law of the Church. Naturally, where that law isn’t binding (due to a decision by the local conference of bishops, for example), there is no sin in committing the act. Where it is binding, however, it’s necessary to follow the law.

So, for example, in Colorado – where it’s legal to smoke marijuana – there’s no crime in committing that act. Try that in a state where it’s not legal, though… and you’re asking for trouble. :wink:

Does that help?

These are the things I am not a fan of. We serve the same God, and He alone defines right and wrong.

I can’t think of a single commandment that’s OK one place and not in another.

The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth - Jesus IS the truth - pillar and foundation is to hold something up to be seen - not modify it.

I’m in trouble - again…

It’s about obedience to Church authority, which has been around for centuries.
It’s not about the meat. It’s a tool fro building up a spiritual life of fast, abstinence and sacrifice, and not near as big as a commandment.

Relax, everyone asks questions, It’s fine :wink:

Vitus and Markie,

Keep in mind that all these things are disciplines and not dogma or doctrine and therefore can be modified as the church sees fit.

As others have rightly pointed out, the grave sin is the willful disobedience and not the act itself just as was the case in the garden of Eden where the sin was willful disobedience and not the act of eating.

If we take issue with this then what do we then learn from things like God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son or Naaman’s instruction from the prophet to go wash 7 times in the river (2nd Kings 5)? Did those things make sense to the people in question? Okay then…same situation here.

And what is wrong with fasting on any given day or esteeming one day above another (Romans 5)? Nothing…

Personally I rejoice in these disciplines of the church and make every good use of them because I love Christ and His Church and daily see the spiritual growth that they have helped develop within me.

Excellent point on Naaman for perspective. I’ll work on this.

I used to live by the state line, and one year during Lent, St. Patrick’s day landed on a Friday. Just over the border Catholics could eat meat (corned beef), and a few miles my way they could not. We could have been standing in the same room, and some Catholics could eat meat on Friday and some could not - and I just had a hard time with how that made sense, especially for the Church that was supposed to be the most universal.

Take no disrespect, please, and I’ll work on the Naaman concept here.

:thumbsup: Like I said it’s a discipline… No offense taken at all. :slight_smile:

Remember that passage from Romans 5 though.

Thank you again Church Militant. I’ll try to do some reading on this over the weekend.

I know I am passionate and energetic, and feel like an evangelist at heart. I guess I want to know how things tick, so when I am talking to people it’s something solid and true.

I also know I am thick skulled, block headed, and seem to have selective hearing - so thanks for putting up with me!!:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

I used to dis-credit the Church, because look at how bad so many of those popes and bishops were. Hmm, but God can work through me of course, but wait, I am a sinner too, so I am dis-qualified?

So he could have worked through, around, or in spite of all their sin?

Yeah - only took me a year or so to get that one!

Still hangin’ here! Merry Christmas!

:thumbsup:

Hmm… not so sure about that one. Jesus Himself said, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you.”

So, even Jesus is saying that there are people – placed in authority by God – who ‘define’ actions… and Jesus is OK with this.

I can’t think of a single commandment that’s OK one place and not in another.

Nope… not sure about this one, either. In Acts 15, we see the results of the ‘council of Jerusalem’ – that Christians “of Gentile origins” are called to a different standard than Jewish Christians. So, the ‘commandment’ of dietary restriction is OK among Jewish Christians, but not in Gentile lands, among Gentile Christians.

The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth - Jesus IS the truth - pillar and foundation is to hold something up to be seen - not modify it.

Agreed. And that’s why it’s important to distinguish between ‘doctrine’ and ‘dogma’ on one hand, and ‘discipline’ on the other…!

Thanks for mentioning the historic precedent for it, but that still leaves me with the question of why it isn’t universal. Since if the bishops of a country do something I presume it’s with love for the faithful in their jurisdiction, so if one place has a Holy Day, why wouldn’t another keep it? Or if one place has meat-fast obligations, why would another just ignore that? I’d think they’d come to an agreement on what the best way is which makes why it’s different in places so confusing.

Because there are different situations in different places and times. Quite naturally, what’s happening in one country (culturally, or societally) isn’t necessarily happening in another. So, the bishops make a prudential judgment on what’s best for the flock that they shepherd.

Since if the bishops of a country do something I presume it’s with love for the faithful in their jurisdiction, so if one place has a Holy Day, why wouldn’t another keep it?

It’s important to realize that the bishops aren’t just going off-script and making changes willy-nilly. Instead, canon law gives the bishops the right to make just these sorts of decisions. So, in a way, bishops are doing exactly what the Church asks of them – to make prudential judgments (where permitted) for the good of their people.

Also, notice that it’s not that they do away with the holy day – it’s still observed! – but with the obligation to attend Mass that day.

Or if one place has meat-fast obligations, why would another just ignore that?

I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘ignoring’ it… rather, they’ve looked at the meaning behind the abstinence and are finding ways to fulfill the meaning (that is, of doing penance).

I’d think they’d come to an agreement on what the best way is which makes why it’s different in places so confusing.

Again, it’s because situations are different in different countries. :shrug:

All great responses here.
Let’s drill it down even further:
In a society or locale that has predominantly fish based nutrition, what would be the sacrificial effect of giving up meat?

Sounds silly, but that’s the whole point. What edifies one culture may not be very effective as a sacrifice to another.

The point of all of these disciplines is SACRIFICE.
People all over the globe do that differently according to their situation in life.

Our parish has a fish fry every Friday during Lent. Fish fry is my favorite meal, and my whole family looks forward to them - so not much sacrifice for us on that one.

Right. :smiley: We had to ask out K of C to stop frying shrimp. It’s supposed to be a meager meal.
:smiley:

That’s kind of funny!!! and kind of not???

Our fish fry’s are packed, with a lot of non-church members attending. If it was a meager meal I doubt the attendance would be there.

Would be nice to see a smaller meal, but a speaker or message along with it!

Oh, we do ours with Stations of the Cross on Fridays in Lent.
We eat first, (the Knights serve every other week) and also the Youth group, and the Hispanic Ministry. (Their food is the best). We try to keep it to a small meal, and then everyone heads into the Church for the Stations, lead by various Deacons or Parishioners or youth. It’s only advertised for our parish.

The youth like to actually serve, they walk around the tables with carts, asking what kind of soups people would like, salad, and they bring your beverage to you. No desserts, ever.
The K of C utilize a buffet line instead.

We have around 80-100 people each time. Some people contribute food and don’t come. :shrug:

But it always concludes with Stations.

The meat thing is for penance so that we may strengthen our souls. Also, it serves as a good reminder for why we do it. If you didn’t have a weekly reminder about doing penance, you would (or did) forget and become lazy, eventually skipping Mass.

Meat is a simple thing and shouldn’t be a big deal, but we treat it as so. That in itself should explain why it is acceptable as a sacrifice. It’s a question of “Do you love meat more than God?” When it isn’t lent, it’s common to be able to replace the abstinence with another penance, which I believe is also helpful for remembering why it is important.

As for Holy Days of Obligation, these are special Holidays where the Church (or your Bishops) say that you should give thanks to God. You should give thanks to God every day, but by having more special days, it works as a wake up call to shake us out of our everyday routine. After all, we are supposed to be a part of the world, not of it.

My understanding is that these designations are what the bishops figure to be good practices for the faithful at the time.

I wonder why you think that this does not apply:? “Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven…” These must be approved by the Apostolic See.

Look how many there are universally for the Latin church, ten, in addition to Sunday:

Canon 1246

  1. Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church. Also to be observed are [LIST]*]the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, *]the Epiphany, *]the Ascension and *]the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, *]Holy Mary Mother of God and *]her Immaculate Conception and *]Assumption, *]Saint Joseph, *]the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and finally, *]All Saints.[/LIST]
  2. However, the conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See.
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