I respect Jimmy Akin. That said, Jimmy seems to have given conflicting answers to the question posed above.
In 2004, Jimmy wrote on his blog that “…there is no obligation in the United States to practice penance on Friday…” . Please see:
In another article, Jimmy writes, “In the United States, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has obtained permission from the Vatican for such substitution. Catholics are obliged to do some form of penance on Fridays and keep the day as per canon 1249, but now they can choose the form of penance they wish to do.” Please see:
Which answer is right? Are Catholics in the United States required, under penalty of sin, to perform penance on those Fridays outside of Lent?