No meat on Fridays; (and Wednesdays?) What if I disagree?

Substituting a rich, delicious steak dinner for a rich, delicious fish dinner isn’t much of a fast. Intent is key here.

My point of this thread was not to debate, but I find your comparison false. When Jesus fasted it was in secret as we do; but that doesn’t make me want to say we’re better for it because of the way we do it. Community fasting is good, but miles easier.

When everyone in your family/community is fasting then you’re barely fasting at all. In fact, everyone works together to make said fast easier.

Anyways, that’s my two cents in response. Thanks for all of the replies, there are certain issues I have with a lot of the answers as they relate to the Bible; although all of the answers have been very helpful for me to understand the Catholic position.

It was simply because fish was a convenient substitute. That’s all.

That is not correct. We must abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent.
I live in the Philippines. If you can produce official Church documents that dispense with the obligation to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in Lent then I would like to see it.

Actually that is incorrect.

Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary:

MEAT. The flesh of animals and birds eaten by human beings, as understood in Church law. Its prohibition on days of abstinence and fast has a spiritual value, going back to the Old Testament and practiced since apostolic times. “The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat” (Pope Paul VI, Paenitemini, Norm III, 1).

There are several solid reasons to uphold the Catholic practice:

  1. There is great value in corporate fasting / penance. God expected this of Israel (think of all those times the entire nation came together to fast and do penance - sackcloth and ashes - this was pleasing to God). Why wouldn’t He expect it of the New Israel?

  2. It is the ancient Tradition of the Church. As another poster mentioned, fasting every Wednesday and Friday is actually referenced in the Didache, which likely dates to the late first century. It is thus likely of Apostolic origin.

  3. The Orthodox Churches certainly do maintain the ancient tradition of fasting every Wednesday and Friday. The Latin Church has reduced the requirements considerably.

  4. There is great value in obedience. God expects us to obey the leaders He has given us.

I don’t know that anyone can make a judgement about what type of fasting is easier. What’s easier for you may not be easier for everyone. Certainly not that simply because other people are fasting then it’s almost like not fasting at all. That’s not for me to say. I mean I don’t have a clue if a person is keeping the fast or not nor do I have any idea how strict of a fast they are keeping. More to the point it’s none of my business.

That’s the reason why they changed it. so now it’s up to us to make a very meaningful sacrifice on Friday. I would suggest going to Mass if at all possible, and praying for our sad world. God Bless, Memaw

And instead of cooking fish at home, everybody goes out to Red Lobster for dinner. So much for making a sacrifice. :rolleyes:

Again, thank you for all of the answers. I can’t help but think the Apostle Paul would disagree with the practice of demanding a Christian partake and abstain from foods; with the punishment of a mortal sin for disobedience. That’s why I wanted to be certain, because when I read Colossians 2, it just feels so… not Catholic:

Colossians 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.

17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, { Or b about the things he has seen b } puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,

19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations –

21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”

22 ( referring to things that all perish as they are used ) – according to human precepts and teachings?

23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

Festivals, Sabbaths. An appearance of wisdom, self made religion and asceticism. “Do not eat, touch, etc.”

I just wonder with passages like this and of course Romans 14, if Paul would want the Church to practice such rituals with fear of being in a state of mortal sin for disobedience?

Sounds perfectly Catholic to me. We certainly shouldn’t pass judgement on someone for their fasting practices. But the fact that we are to fast cannot be denied. Jesus himself tells us to fast. The Wednesday and Friday fast in particular has been practiced since Apostolic times.

Assuming Paul was Catholic, and he was speaking to other Catholics saying not to observe days, festivals or Sabbaths; and then the Catholics here say that other Catholics commit a grave sin for not taking part, then judgement has been passed on someone for their fasting practice.

In secret though?

There’s nothing wrong with it, but saying it’s a grave sin not to is unbiblical.

Honestly, I think Paul would expect us to unify ourselves with Christ’s Church and not use his words to bring division. He’d probably say something like:

"10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[d] by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters.[e] 12 What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? " (1 Cor 10-13)

Not if the Church tells us to do it, it’s not. Christ said “whatever” they bind is bound, and whoever hears the Church hears the very voice of Christ (Lk 10:16). So, if Christ’s Church says to fast on certain days under penalty of mortal sin, it is the same as if Christ Himelf said it (according to the Bible).

The question then (as always) is, which Church is that Church He established?

Which Church is THE Church in the Bible?

I agree. If we took Paul’s words seriously in his letters, including Romans 14 then there would be no division

But if Paul says something then we know it to be binding on the entire Church; that is, all of Catholicism assuming Paul was Catholic and those he wrote to were Catholic.

Then for the Church to claim it is the same Church to make a command that stands in direct contradiction to Paul’s appeals, we can only assume said Church is incorrect in its judgement.

This is a matter of Church discipline, IOW: Canon Law (1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law). Canon Law can change.

I am seriously thinking about becoming a Church Canon Lawyer…

You’d think it’d be possible to have an intelligent dialogue without having to hit people on the head with the hammer of authority and the One True Church…

Yes, there are plenty of books trying to define one rule vs another where it becomes an endless confusing maze of rules where no one, except a canon lawyer can truly understand.

But then I again turn to Paul’s letters when he commands us to learn sound doctrine.

1 Corin 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Tim 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,

4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

One should not have to be a lawyer to understand Christ crucified and what that means. All these rules on foods, days, etc that Paul was against. I cannot begin to justify it from a Catholic point of view to condemn another as committing mortal sin for disagreement. Paul never condemned such a person.

Romans 14 should be our guide and there really should be no more argument. That and the Colossians passage I posted.

You are presuming that the Church’s rule on fasting is in contradition to what Paul wrote to the Colossians. I don’t think it is. I don’t believe Paul is negating Christ’s gift of authority to His Church and I don’t presume Paul is telling the Colossians to overlook any rule the Church would impose on them under pain of sin. I think instead that Paul us telling us not to judge each other based on what we eat and rebuking us when we tend to put too much stock into the material…lending ourselves to superstition. This same Paul also told us that the Church is the “pillar and bullwark of truth” and that by the traditions of that Church one will know how one should conduct himself.

If you read verses 8-15, it’s pretty clear what Paul is talking about in the verses you quoted.

“8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe,[c] and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision,[d] by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God[e] made you[f] alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed[g] the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.”

-Like I said…he then goes on to warn against falling back into Jewish practices for the purpose of salvation…

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