Catholic World News

New York archbishop wonders: resume meatless-Friday obligation?

August 18, 2011

New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan has raised the possibility of returning to the obligatory Friday abstinence from meat, saying that the measure could help to strengthen Catholic identity.

Meatless Fridays, the archbishop suggested, were one of many "markers" of the Catholic faith:

Lord knows, there used to be tons of them: Friday abstinence from meat was one of them, but we recall so many others: seriousness about Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; fasting on the Ember Days; saints names for children; confession at least annually; loyal membership in the local parish; fasting for three hours before Holy Communion, just to name a few.

Such "markers," Archbishop Dolan said, contributed to a strong sense of religious identity, which is not as evident in the Catholic Church today.

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  • Posted by: mgreen32234 - Aug. 19, 2011 11:01 AM ET USA

    It is unsettling. You never know what Archbishop Dolan will talk about but I've come to expect whatever he says will have a short shelf life. He gives us no tools of engagement - no way to grace. A few months ago he spoke about abortion in NY. Then he was gone. Gay marriage in NY. He talked to the Governor. It passed. Then he was gone. Is it that he is too careful or perhaps tentative? He needs our prayers. As do I.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Aug. 19, 2011 12:22 AM ET USA

    Finally, a bishop says what so many of us have been thinking for years! Can't come soon enough.

  • Posted by: lynnvinc7142 - Aug. 18, 2011 7:32 PM ET USA

    Yes, for spiritual, ecological, economic, and health reasons. When you seek 1st the kingdom... Many Hindus & Catholics in India fast once a week for spiritual reasons. They not only abstain from meat, but also skip breakfast, and eat a very light lunch, then regular dinner. Even when they eat meat, for most it is much smaller amounts than ours. Our uncle Catholic parish priest there was a vegetarian...we'd have to cajole him to eat some fish (considered meat, not for Friday abstinence).

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Aug. 18, 2011 7:12 PM ET USA

    Church customs and rules existed for good reason. It would be good to return to them. Some Catholics never gave them up.

  • Posted by: jmilloy46427 - Aug. 18, 2011 7:06 PM ET USA

    Yes, yes, yes!!!!!! My friend and I sign a petition many years ago, with American Life League to ask the U.S. Bishops toi reinstate meatless Fridays, as an offering to end abortion. No one I know, other than my friend, dies any Friday penance!!!! It made us different!

  • Posted by: stpetric - Aug. 18, 2011 6:01 PM ET USA

    Yes! Discontinuing the Friday abstinence was a marker, too -- of deferring to an indifferent culture.

  • Posted by: WLP - Aug. 18, 2011 5:59 PM ET USA

    Yes, we should. For penitential and even ecological reasons. I make my case for this in my blog post:

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Aug. 18, 2011 10:59 AM ET USA

    Yes Yes Yes!!! And I will also go further. The music during Mass should be chanted. My parish usually uses an organ to accompany sung music. For Good Friday, my daughter and I were struck by how much more beautiful the music was when it was sung without the organ.