Monday, May 16, 2011

Fish on Fridays!

There has been simply too much to blog about but I have at last found a moment to post on this: the Bishops of England and Wales are restoring the requirment that Catholics of or over the age of 14 must abstain from meat on every Friday of the year, unless it is a Solemnity. Oh yes, and that's on pain of mortal sin.

At least that's how their decision seems to fit in with Canon Law.

I think this is of great significance: the bishops are actually taking the initiative to restore a traditional discipline which promotes a traditioinal spirituality and can only be explained in traditional terms. And the explanation is a model - I am seriously impressed by the theological precision and the good style of this document. I think we have a lot to thank Fr Marcus Stock, the newish Secretary of the Bishops' Conference; at least it would be reasonable to assume he had a hand in drafting it. Do read it. I particularly like the distinctions made between different kinds of penance.

How often do you hear the word 'penance'? How often are you exhorted to unite your sufferings to the sacrifice of Our Lord on the cross? This is obviously influenced by recent discussions of the importance of Catholic identity, but it goes beyond that point.

What is more, as far as I know no-one has forced the bishops to do this. How many other countries have the Friday pennance rule in force? I've not heard of anywhere restoring it in recent years. This is a fascinating development, and could be a harbinger of better times to come.

Remember what the angel said to the children of Fatima:


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