... and about that St. Patrick’s Day dispensation...

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Mar 17, 2017

Just as a footnote to yesterday’s lament about the corned-beef dispensation, let me reproduce the statement from my own bishop, which I think is fairly typical. But if you don’t mind, I’ll add my own emphasis.

This year the Liturgical Memorial of St. Patrick, March 17, falls on a Friday of the Second Week of Lent, a day of abstinence. In light of the number of inquiries about my granting a dispensation from the requirement to refrain from eating meat on the Fridays of Lent, I am granting a diocesan-wide dispensation from the law of abstinence on Friday, March 17, 2017. I would ask the Catholic faithful who take advantage of this general dispensation to perform another act of penance on either the day before or after March 17, 2017.

During the past week I have read approximately two gazillion Facebook posts about the dispensation. Not one referred to an alternative act of penance—unless you count the people who argue that eating the cabbage in the “traditional” dish is in itself a mortification.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Archpriest - Mar. 18, 2017 4:54 PM ET USA

    As a non-Irish Catholic I always find myself a bit "pissed off"at the ecclesiastical over-kill hoopla for St. Patrick's day. Don't get me wrong, I rejoice with the Irish on the feast day of Saint Patrick. I am of French Canadian descent and from an area where more than half of the Catholics are of French descent. Dispensations. Green mastheads in diocesan papers etc. Where is the same treatment for the feast days of French or German or Polish or Slovak or Vietnamese etc. Catholics?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 17, 2017 3:55 PM ET USA

    All this fuss over corned beef and cabbage...Seriously?

  • Posted by: shrink - Mar. 17, 2017 11:25 AM ET USA

    My lineage on both sides is 110 percent from the British Isles. I can attest to the fact that all dishes emanating from any of these fair isles are always a penance to partake. The whiskies and scotch, however, are an entirely different matter.

  • Posted by: iprayiam5731 - Mar. 17, 2017 9:28 AM ET USA

    In my diocese, it is a commutation, not a dispensation, we are required to abstain on a different day in its place. More importantly, why all the fuss? Catholic adults need to grow up. I get that bishops are just trying to be nice and 'accommodate' or maybe just trying to make headlines. But to me it sends the wrong message: "Look, nobody expects you to 'inconvenience' yourself with Catholic devotion. We would never ask you to put spirituality above cultural indulgence and temporal pleasure."