More Catholic than... Mahony?

By Leila Marie Lawler (articles ) | Feb 10, 2005

I don't know if Cardinal Mahony has the authority to change the observance of Ash Wednesday to another day, even with the conflict of the Chinese New Year. But he did.

Nevertheless, some folks do put their religion first, despite his best efforts:

Mary Kay Yu of Camarillo, a Catholic whose husband, George, is chairman of the Ventura County Chinese-American Historical Society, said she couldn't remember another year in which the holidays fell on the same day.

"This year really presented a conflict," Yu said Tuesday.

She said Mahony's decision didn't help her or her family because they already intended to celebrate Chinese New Year on Saturday.

She said she planned to observe Ash Wednesday today [Feb 9].

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  • Posted by: Fr. William - Feb. 12, 2005 9:58 PM ET USA

    Even with his authority to "move" Ash Wednesday obligations, why would a successor to the apostles do this in favor of a pagan festival? Well, we get a hint from one visit to the Los Angeles Archdiocese's official website; & there you'll find on the homopage, errr, homepage, the unofficial calling card of the gay/lesbian community: the colors of the rainbow splashed over a montage of diocesan photos, with his Eminence, Cardinal Roger, overlooking the whole presentation. End of story.

  • Posted by: Andy K - Feb. 11, 2005 8:02 PM ET USA

    I understand Bishop Vigneron of Oakland did the same. He also said those who chose to celebrate the Lunar New Year had to make up the da of fast and abstinence.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 1:31 PM ET USA

    Perhaps Cardinal Mahony "cannot recall" when Ash Wednesday is.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 11:32 AM ET USA

    To JP: you may be right that the Cardinal can give depensation from fasting and obstaining from food on Ash Wed. However, I believe it would be for pupose of "Age", Ilness, or for some real good reason because of health. But in reality to override this because of some other event is very ify . It is not a good move, because as it is people do not take "Sin" seriously enough. Ash Wed. reminds us how horrible "Sin is". From King Davids time: after he committed adultery, and murder.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 12:48 AM ET USA

    There is a distinction between the treatment of Ash Wednesday and St. Patrick's. The law of fast, itself, excludes solemnities as days of abstinence. Can. 1251. So if St. Patrick is the patron of a nation, diocese or a parish, that day is a local solemnity, and there is no obligation to abstain. A bishop could extend this principal when his faithful celebrate this feast day under his authority to dispense from these disciplinary obligations under Can. 87.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 11, 2005 12:37 AM ET USA

    Canon law clearly gives Cardinal Mahony the power to dispense his flock from the disciplinary obligation to fast on Ash Wednesday. Can. 87 §1. A diocesan bishop, whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual good, is able to dispense the faithful from universal and particular disciplinary laws issued for his territory or his subjects by the supreme authority of the Church. .... One can discuss whether this is a good or bad prudential decision, but it is w/n his power.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 6:48 PM ET USA

    You may be interested to know that Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth, Western Australia gave a dispensation to the Chinese celebrating New Year. They did not have to observe it as a day of Fasting and Abstinence.

  • Posted by: leila - Feb. 10, 2005 6:08 PM ET USA

    Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, but the Universal Church does fast on that day. As I said, I don't know if Mahony can change it. But had he said "I'm asking you to fast on this day, to put your faith first" there were apparently some faithful who were willing to do so. The abstinence obligation has been lifted for St. Patrick's day, but at least here in Boston, he's our patron Saint. I still don't know if it should be done.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 5:00 PM ET USA

    First of all, it's not "Chinese New Year," it’s the Lunar New Year. My wife is Korean and she attends a Korean parish. The Korean pastor informed everyone, via the bulletin, that New Year celebration would be held on the preceding Sunday so that parishioners--good Catholics that they are--would usher in Lent on schedule, according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Church. This pastor wasn't afraid to change a civil celebration; but he had the good sense not to change one dedicated to the Lord.

  • Posted by: Fr. Zuhlsdorf o{]:¬) - Feb. 10, 2005 4:26 PM ET USA

    The Bishop of Hong Kong dispensed his subjects and established another day to fast and abstain ( The Vicar General of Orange in CA, in that diocese's dispensation, refers to a general dispensation from the Holy See's CDW for Vietnamese "in the diaspora". In some places bishops fall over themselves on St. Patrick's Day, when on a Friday, to grant dispensations right and left. Do we want to squawk about this? Is there a double standard?

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 3:47 PM ET USA

    Its just like Cardinal Mahony's to "honor" the Chinese New Year, the year of the Rooster (the Cock). Especially, at a time while the Chinese gov. are persecuting the Christians. Sure that is equal to "Ash Wed." ? No, he does not have the "Authority" to do that even though he thinks he is smarter than the Pope. He has no busness to say the "Holy Catholic Church" should repent.(this was in another story). Nothing wrong with the "Church", it's the people in the Chruch that have the problem.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 3:14 PM ET USA

    Maybe Cardinal Roger can JUST DECLARE that he is not going to answer any subpoenas from the LA prosecutor to supply court ordered document on his priests sexual activities.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 10, 2005 3:08 PM ET USA

    Bishop Gerald Barnes in the San Bernardino Diocese did the same thing. Is it really a problem? I'm not being a smart aleck; I honestly don't know. It's not a Holy Day of Obligation (is it?).