Friday, March 11, 2011

Meat on Fridays During Lent in Canada

In the US, abstinence from meat is mandatory on Fridays of Lent and Ash Wednesday.

In Canada, the rule for meat on Friday is the same for the rest of the year. However, many people believe abstinence from meat was thrown out with Vatican II. Not so. After the Second Vatican Counctil, abstaining from meat could be substituted for another act of penance.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops puts it nicely:

Abstinence. This form of penance needs to be seen as a near cousin of fasting. We may give up meat or other desirable foods on one or two days a week during Lent, especially on Friday, the day of Christ’s saving death on the cross. Our abstinence is another way of sharing in Christ’s work of saving the world.

Throughout the year, every Friday is

day of abstinence from meat, obliging all Catholics who are 14 years or older.

We may also substitute other good actions for abstinence from meat. These could include special acts of charity (visiting the sick or aged, helping those in any need, contributing time or money to a work of charity) or other acts of piety (taking part in a service of worship with others, praying with our family, spending some extra time in personal prayer, especially with God’s holy word in the scriptures).

This is found in section 6 of "Living Lent", which can be found here.

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