Thursday, March 01, 2007

Days of Fast and Abstinence

Here are answers to questions about Lenten fasting and abstaining.

Two are the days of abstinence from meat and also days of fast, that is limited to a single full meal: Ash Wednesday, 21 February 2007; and Good Friday, 6 April 2007.

With regard to Good Friday, the Second Vatican Council urged:
“Let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind” (Constitution on the Liturgy, No. 110).
The law of abstinence binds all Catholics 14 years and older.
The law of fasting binds all Catholics from their 18th birthday until their 59th birthday.

The other Fridays of the season of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.

While fasting and penitence are the serious stuff of Lent, no one ought to be scrupulous regarding them. As the Pope has taught, failure to observe an individual day of penance is not considered serious.

Some ask, "What makes a good fast?" The principle is: seek to do more rather than less. Fast and abstinence on the days prescribed should be considered a minimum response to the Lord’s call to penance and conversion.

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