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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? 

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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.

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