Meatless Fridays return to England this week
September 12, 2011
The bishops of England and Wales are preparing the faithful for the resumption of the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays.
“The law of the Church requires Catholics on Fridays to abstain from meat, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference,” according to a document recently released by the bishops’ conference. “The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this penance should be fulfilled simply by abstaining from meat and by uniting this to prayer. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake.”
“Even though since 1985 it has been possible in England and Wales for the faithful to substitute another act of penance in place of abstinence from meat, many Catholics have continued to practice this ancient form of penitence,” the document adds. “It is also clear that many of us forget our obligation to do penance on a Friday. Abstaining from meat is easy to remember, a simple way to give witness at work, at school and even in the family and, although it is still an act of penitence, cannot be considered to put any real or substantial additional burden on the lives of the faithful.”