Meatless Fridays throughout the year may return to the United States


#1

Speaking of the Sacrament of Penance in his "Address given at the USCCB General Assembly Fall meeting on November 12, 2012," Timothy Cardinal Dolan says:

The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Our pastoral plan offers numerous resources for catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance, and the manifold graces that come to us from the frequent use of confession.

See usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2012-november-meeting/presidential-address-cardinal-dolan.cfm

I do hope this happens. It is quite difficult for me personally to remember to do Friday penance throughout the year, including during Lent, for two reasons:

  1. In my experience there is no culture of penance. It is relegated to being "that thing we do during Lent" and it is not mentioned from the pulpit at Sunday Mass here. However, it is printed in my parish's bulletin that we must abstain and fast as required during Lent. I do not think a return to meatless Fridays throughout the year will suddenly solve our problems, but I do think it will remind us of our obligations to do Friday penance and make it much easier to remember since there will only be one way of doing it. I believe there are many Catholics who don't even know they are required to do a penance every Friday. I think a large part of the success of this, if it happens, will be whether we make it a part of regular parish culture or not. Think Friday fish fries, which are common in some places during Lent. I think making a practice such as this a staple of parish life every Friday or one Friday a month would contribute hugely to the success of a reinstatement of meatless Fridays throughout the year for parishes where something like this is feasible.

  2. In my experience the whys and wherefores of doing penance are not really discussed. I do know why we do it, but it is easy to forget or overlook. This might be a symptom of the expectation that Catholics already know why we do it, I don't know. Regardless, if this comes to happen, I think the reasons should be regularly discussed and reminders should be frequently given; in the context of the Friday fish fry tradition, someone in the parish could compose a short but powerful prayer appropriate to the theme of penance which could be prayed at every such event. This could also contribute to a strengthening of parish identity.

I am in full support of a return to meatless Fridays.

What are your thoughts? What would contribute to the success of a return to such a practice? What is your personal experience?


#2

Since you're asking for opinions, I don't really think it matters. I grew up in a household where we never ate meat on fridays....so we basically feasted on non-meat Chinese foods that were our very favorites anyway, or pizza, or mac and cheese. I don't abstain from meat anymore except for Lenten fridays, but it wouldn't make a difference for me if I had to again. We have such varied choices for food (unlike in the 'olden days' when it was first instituted to help out the fishermen), that it really doesn't matter.


#3

We currently do try to keep to meatless Fridays all year. In the past we followed other penances, but the thing about abstaining is that you have to remember and so think about your penance at least 3 times during the day!

What often makes it difficult is that at the end of a long week, getting a quick dinner out is a nice way to relax. Usually that means a meal with meat based on family preferences and wanting good food that isn't expensive (like fish or seafood dinners often are). Going out for cheese pizza or spaghetti and marinia just seems like a waste of money!

If the discipline returns, we will of course follow it. Hopefully we will also see a return to the culture where a fish special is always on the menu on Fridays. ;)


#4

[quote="Rence, post:2, topic:304926"]
Since you're asking for opinions, I don't really think it matters. I grew up in a household where we never ate meat on fridays....so we basically feasted on non-meat Chinese foods that were our very favorites anyway, or pizza, or mac and cheese. I don't abstain from meat anymore except for Lenten fridays, but it wouldn't make a difference for me if I had to again. We have such varied choices for food (unlike in the 'olden days' when it was first instituted to help out the fishermen), that it really doesn't matter.

[/quote]

Source please, for the bolded.
Thanks


#5

That’s awesome news!

No matter how delicious a meatless meal can be, I still feel that it’s a bit of a penance to not eat meat on a Friday. In other words, whether I wanted to eat a meat dish at my favorite restaurant or whether I felt like cooking chicken, I have to go against my will and deny myself.

For those who are vegetarian, and don’t eat meat anyway, one can still do a penance, by not eating lasagna or pizza and maybe eating plainer fare.

One thing that is apparent in this day is that the lack of a Catholic witness is affecting all parts of society. I believe meatless Fridays are a great witness.


#6

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but are you subtly implying that it is not penitential at all - that it was or is all business?


#7

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:1, topic:304926"]
Speaking of the Sacrament of Penance in his "Address given at the USCCB General Assembly Fall meeting on November 12, 2012," Timothy Cardinal Dolan says:

See usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2012-november-meeting/presidential-address-cardinal-dolan.cfm

I do hope this happens. It is quite difficult for me personally to remember to do Friday penance throughout the year, including during Lent, for two reasons:

  1. In my experience there is no culture of penance. It is relegated to being "that thing we do during Lent" and it is not mentioned from the pulpit at Sunday Mass here. However, it is printed in my parish's bulletin that we must abstain and fast as required during Lent. I do not think a return to meatless Fridays throughout the year will suddenly solve our problems, but I do think it will remind us of our obligations to do Friday penance and make it much easier to remember since there will only be one way of doing it. I believe there are many Catholics who don't even know they are required to do a penance every Friday. I think a large part of the success of this, if it happens, will be whether we make it a part of regular parish culture or not. Think Friday fish fries, which are common in some places during Lent. I think making a practice such as this a staple of parish life every Friday or one Friday a month would contribute hugely to the success of a reinstatement of meatless Fridays throughout the year for parishes where something like this is feasible.

  2. In my experience the whys and wherefores of doing penance are not really discussed. I do know why we do it, but it is easy to forget or overlook. This might be a symptom of the expectation that Catholics already know why we do it, I don't know. Regardless, if this comes to happen, I think the reasons should be regularly discussed and reminders should be frequently given; in the context of the Friday fish fry tradition, someone in the parish could compose a short but powerful prayer appropriate to the theme of penance which could be prayed at every such event. This could also contribute to a strengthening of parish identity.

I am in full support of a return to meatless Fridays.

What are your thoughts? What would contribute to the success of a return to such a practice? What is your personal experience?

[/quote]

Why depend on other people for your own spirituality? What if you live in a predominantly non-Catholic or even non-Christian country? Which the US by the way is rapidly becoming.


#8

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:304926"]
Why depend on other people for your own spirituality? What if you live in a predominantly non-Catholic or even non-Christian country? Which the US by the way is rapidly becoming.

[/quote]

Then maybe there shouldn't be such a thing as specific fasting days or holy days of obligation. The church institutes practices that She feels will be good for us spiritually, doesn't she?


#9

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:7, topic:304926"]
Why depend on other people for your own spirituality? What if you live in a predominantly non-Catholic or even non-Christian country? Which the US by the way is rapidly becoming.

[/quote]

What? I consider myself part of my parish community. I am not absolutely dependent upon other people for the success of my faith. But we Catholics are members of a Body of Christ, a Christian community that cannot be separated through a sieve as if we were some kind of Protestant sect with "Jesus and me" sensibilities. If you mean that it is ultimately my decision whether I pursue salvation or not, I agree. But I do not accept the notion that a community that is collectively strong in the faith does not make it easier.

If I lived in a predominantly non-Catholic or non-Christian country, I do not see any difference. I would still be part of a parish community.

:confused:


#10

Rence, this is not true. It is anti-Catholic propaganda.


#11

[quote="1ke, post:10, topic:304926"]
Rence, this is not true. It is anti-Catholic propaganda.

[/quote]

That is correct. It's an annoyingly persistent :) legend that the meatless Fridays had to do with any kind of commerce in fish (there are many variants on this story).

See this for better information about it:

jimmyakin.com/2005/02/fish_fridays.html


#12

[quote="TrueLight, post:5, topic:304926"]
That's awesome news!

No matter how delicious a meatless meal can be, I still feel that it's a bit of a penance to not eat meat on a Friday. In other words, whether I wanted to eat a meat dish at my favorite restaurant or whether I felt like cooking chicken, I have to go against my will and deny myself.

For those who are vegetarian, and don't eat meat anyway, one can still do a penance, by not eating lasagna or pizza and maybe eating plainer fare.

One thing that is apparent in this day is that the lack of a Catholic witness is affecting all parts of society. I believe meatless Fridays are a great witness.

[/quote]

I 've been observing Meatless Friday's for a decade now which I give credit to God's doing alone. In someways I feel guity because I've gotten so used to it, it no longer feels like a penence anymore.

I've contemplated eating something meatless I don't like. We all know what Saint Francis did to his food to deprive himself from the enjoying lusts of the five senses.
Might sound radical to many but I have given it some thought. Problem is I'm an insulin dependant diabetic so when I eat I have to eat something with protein.

Peace
Chris


#13

[quote="centurionguard, post:12, topic:304926"]
I 've been observing Meatless Friday's for a decade now which I give credit to God's doing alone. In someways I feel guity because I've gotten so used to it, it no longer feels like a penence anymore.

I've contemplated eating something meatless I don't like. We all know what Saint Francis did to his food to deprive himself from the enjoying lusts of the five senses.
Might sound radical to many but I have given it some thought. Problem is I'm an insulin dependant diabetic so when I eat I have to eat something with protein.

Peace
Chris

[/quote]

Plain tofu?


#14

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:13, topic:304926"]
Plain tofu?

[/quote]

Sounds interesting Thanks. I've eaten only once flavored.

It does have high protein.

Tofu has a low calorie count, relatively large amounts of protein, and little fat. It is high in iron and, depending on the coagulant used in manufacturing, may also be high in calcium and/or magnesium.


#15

If obligatory Friday abstinence is restored year-round, I would expect some real benefits to many Catholics: another weekly reminder of our Faith, another tie bonding us together regularly, and another public witness to non-Catholics.

At least these are benefits my wife and I found when we embraced it voluntarily a few years ago.

And we'd never have hit it off the Friday we met, if we haven't split off from the group to find fish sandwiches. :)


#16

I don’t particularly think it would be that beneficial. :shrug: Making it clear that some form of penance/sacrifice is required every friday, yes, I think that is a great idea and can be hugely beneficial. Abstaining from meat? I grew up doing that, and still try to do it today, but just out of respect for the tradition, is not actually a sacrifice for me at all. What is a sacrifice is not snacking, or eating smaller/plainer meals, eating burnt food or something, not eating meat just isn’t a big deal, and no, I’m not a vegetarian.So my take on it? They should avoid giving a specific action, such as abstaining from meat, as the necessary sacrifice, (although there is nothing wrong with highly suggesting it because of the great tradition of the Church throughout the ages, to be in solidarity with those Catholics who lost their lives over this practice) but instead it should be made crystal clear that it is mandatory to perform some form of sacrifice on Fridays and so to turn Friday’s into a day of penance.


#17

[quote="centurionguard, post:12, topic:304926"]
I 've been observing Meatless Friday's for a decade now which I give credit to God's doing alone. In someways I feel guity because I've gotten so used to it, it no longer feels like a penence anymore.

I've contemplated eating something meatless I don't like. We all know what Saint Francis did to his food to deprive himself from the enjoying lusts of the five senses.
Might sound radical to many but I have given it some thought. Problem is I'm an insulin dependant diabetic so when I eat I have to eat something with protein.

Peace
Chris

[/quote]

I know what you mean.

How about boiled ziti with the spaghetti sauce from the $.99 store with plain, boiled tofu as YTC recommended.

Or plain canned black beans (protein there) over brown rice. No sauce, no spices?

I promise you, none of that will be delicious. :p


#18

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:1, topic:304926"]
I believe there are many Catholics who don't even know they are required to do a penance every Friday.

[/quote]

:blush::whistle::imsorry:

Erm... I would be one of those Catholics....

Penance every Friday? Time to do some research.

As to this, I think it would be a pain fora bit, but would eventually become second nature; and even if it doesn't, it's to bring me closer to God, so I'm all for it ^^


#19

[quote="thewanderer, post:16, topic:304926"]
I don't particularly think it would be that beneficial. :shrug: Making it clear that some form of penance/sacrifice is required every friday, yes, I think that is a great idea and can be hugely beneficial. Abstaining from meat? I grew up doing that, and still try to do it today, but just out of respect for the tradition, is not actually a sacrifice for me at all. What is a sacrifice is not snacking, or eating smaller/plainer meals, eating burnt food or something, not eating meat just isn't a big deal, and no, I'm not a vegetarian.So my take on it? They should avoid giving a specific action, such as abstaining from meat, as the necessary sacrifice, (although there is nothing wrong with highly suggesting it because of the great tradition of the Church throughout the ages, to be in solidarity with those Catholics who lost their lives over this practice) but instead it should be made crystal clear that it is mandatory to perform some form of sacrifice on Fridays and so to turn Friday's into a day of penance.

[/quote]

I believe they tried not giving specific instruction before. I'm afraid that did not get us very far.

What we have now are people not even knowing that Fridays are penitential days.


#20

[quote="TrueLight, post:17, topic:304926"]
I know what you mean.

How about boiled ziti with the spaghetti sauce from the $.99 store with plain, boiled tofu as YTC recommended.

Or plain canned black beans (protein there) over brown rice. No sauce, no spices?

I promise you, none of that will be delicious. :p

[/quote]

Black beans and rice is the only meal that contains all of the essential amino acids iirc. :)


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