Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Fish on Friday

Maybe I should have made that title "Why Phish on Phriday"!

Fr. Ryan Erlenbush of The New Theological Movement has an interesting post on why we abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent – and, in fact, why we shouldn’t ever eat meat on Fridays.

So… don’t we eat meat on Fridays? Fr. Erlenbush maintains:

It’s not because meat tastes better than fish. It’s not because meat is (or ever was) a delicacy. It’s not because the apostles were fishermen. It’s not even because Christ offered his flesh upon the Cross on a Friday (at least, that isn’t the first reason).

Why, then? Well, read the entire article to find out!

And here’s Fr. Erlenbush's conclusion:

Why we shouldn’t ever eat meat on Fridays

Canon Law states that abstinence from meat is to be observed (by the faithful who are fourteen and up) on all Fridays throughout the year, unless the Episcopal Conference substitutes some other food [cf. Can. 1251, 1252].

In the United States, and in many parts of the world, the bishops have allowed the faithful to make some other sacrifice on Fridays outside of Lent (rather than having to give up meat, they may abstain from some other food). Still, the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays is maintained throughout the season of Lent.

The Church requires by law that, “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.” [Can. 1252]

Now, when was the last time you heard a priest or parent explain the true meaning of abstinence from meat? Why aren’t people being taught the tradition of the Church?

While it is certainly true that it would not be fitting to speak to a child of zinc’s impact on libido, would it be too much to say that not eating meat helps a person to be “more at peace”?

In any case, a Christian who knows the real reason behind Lenten abstinence would never claim that a large plate of fish at a Friday fish-fry is contrary to the spirit of the law. [No matter how much fish you eat, you’re not going to get enough zinc to cause an increase in lust.]

And a bishop, or Episcopal Conference, who understands the true meaning of abstinence would never allow Christians (on Fridays outside of Lent) to substitute the traditional practice by giving up some food other than meat, dairy, or eggs.

Go here for the full meal deal…so to speak.

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