Question on Abstinence


#1

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As I understand it, anybody 62 years old or older is excused from abstinence during Lent.
But what about ordinary Fridays throughout the year? Is a person 62 and older finished with
abstinence then and for the rest of his/her life?

Not counting voluntary abstinence and fasting, of course.

fbg36

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#2

In the US, anyone 14 and older must abstain from meat and things made from meat on Good Friday, Ash Wednesday, and all the Fridays of Lent unless there is a solemnity on a Friday. Anyone 14 or older must abstain from meat OR substitute another penitential practice on the rest of the Fridays during the year. Anyone from the ages of 18 to 60 is required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, except pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those with other medical conditions (diabetes, for instance) for whom fasting would be harmful. There are a few other reasons too, but these are the basics.


#3

Do not confuse fasting and abstinence.
Abstinence has a starting age while fasting has a starting and ending age.

Canon Law:

Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.


#4

QUOTING CANON LAW, THISTLE WROTE (Oct. 29, 7:01 p.m.):

Abstinence has a starting age while fasting has a starting and ending age.

Canon Law:

Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

==================================

Thanks for that, thistle, but I’m still a bit confused. The canon law you quote speaks of "… those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence."
So this seems to say BOTH can have an ending age, but you indicate that the fasting law has an ending age, while abstinence does not – and canon 1252 seems to agree, though it doesn’t say so in the first sentence of the text. Hmmm …

Anyway, the safe thing for me to do is to keep following the rules as if I were in my twenties (I’m 73). Abstinence isn’t really hard at all. The only reason I bring it up is that I tend to forget abstinence when Friday rolls around, and then end up confessing it (as I did a week ago). So, next time I’ll ask the priest.

Pax,

~ Frank


#5

Abstaining from meat is only required on the Fridays during Lent. It is not required on Fridays during the rest of the year. However, all other Friday are a day for penance. You may choose what form of penance to do. Not eating meat is one you could choose.


#6

Those over the age of 60 are excused from fasting. During Lent, everyone over 14 is required to abstain from meat on Fridays. There is no upper age when you can start eating hamburgers and steaks on Lenten Fridays.

Here’s info from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops source]:

Let us offer a reminder on the Church’s fasting and abstinence teachings:

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of universal fast and abstinence. Fasting is obligatory for all who have completed their 18th year and have not yet reached their 60th year. Fasting allows a person to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may be taken, not to equal one full meal. Abstinence (from meat) is obligatory for all who have reached their 14th year.

If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.

Fridays in Lent are obligatory days of complete abstinence (from meat) for all who have completed their 14th year.

We encourage you to make use of the site. Through our works of prayer, fasting, and abstinence, let us heed the prophet Joel’s exhortation to return to God with our whole heart (2:12).


#7

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