Our Boosters are matching gifts up to $45,000. We have $32,467 to go. Your gift today will count twice!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

dim bulbs

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 26, 2010

Eat whatever you want and lose weight!

You've seen those ads too, no doubt. I haven't tried the miracle diets, but I'm skeptical.

I'm skeptical, too, that the "Lenten Carbon Fast," proposed by the Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington, will prove a satisfactory replacement for, say, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

Not that I deny the profound spiritual insights captured by some of the day-to-day suggestions on the Carbon Fast Calendar:

  • For Ash Wednesday:
Remove one light bulb from your home and live without its light for the next 40 days.

Be careful not to stick your finger in the empty socket.

  • For February 22:
Check windows and doors for drafts with a ribbon or feather.

Oh, definitely a feather.

  • For March 18:
When heating water on the stove, use a pot with a lid to conserve energy.

Unquestionably sound advice. But what does this have to do with Lenten penance?

March 1 is a day to "Speak Out! Ask our Leaders to Take Action on Climate Change Today." And then on April 1 it's time to replace that missing light bulb. "Learn more about how your electricity is generated" as you bask in the restored glow.

April 1, by the way, is marked as "Maundy Thursday" on the Carbon Fast Calendar. Most Catholics identify the day as Holy Thursday, and devote the day for reflection on subjects other than power generators.

Then again, for some people that date is April Fool's Day.


The original link to the Lenten Carbon Fast 2010 calendar appears to be broken. But have no fear; the document is still available through the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Why are you not surprised? 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($117,141 to go):
$150,000.00 $32,858.98
78% 22%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Jul. 20, 2010 10:42 AM ET USA

    Maybe it should be more general, a sinners Lenten calendar. One day, refrain from stealing. The next, don't stab anyone. The next, don't poison anyone. The next, don't take food away from the poor. The next, don't emit CO2 and cause global warming and kill the unborn. And so on.

  • Posted by: Ken_H - Mar. 04, 2010 11:10 AM ET USA

    I'm surprised that they didn't advise not receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday - talk about missing the quintessential "carbon fasting" action!

  • Posted by: SentimentalGent - Feb. 27, 2010 7:51 PM ET USA

    For some, the current is making it all the way to the bulb.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Contentious Spirits, Beware! 13 hours ago
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28
Clarifying what it might mean for a pope to wish to change Catholic doctrine October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6