I’ve been getting a lot of questions by email from people in these USA who want to know about the indult that Pius XII gave to Americans to eat meat on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Rorate looked at that HERE, saying that the indult still was good to go.
First, Pius’ very cool indult was a great example of Holy Church’s mercy and practical side. In a similar vein, bishops where there are large Chinese and Vietnamese communities have often dispensed or commuted the abstinence obligation when Lunar New Year fell on a Friday of Lent or even on Ash Wednesday itself.
Nevertheless, in light of the 1966 document from the U.S. conference, the indult of Pius XII ceased to have effect when the obligation the indult was given for ceased to bind. Get that? Once the need was no longer there, the indult ceased to have effect. No more indult because no more need for an indult.
His scriptis, those who, out of pure devotion and sacrificial love for the Lord, still choose to abstain on Fridays could find in this now-defunct indult a permission to relax their abstinence – which in these USA does not bind under pain of sin – for a day in order to eat up some of the leftover turkey.
You can eat Turkey on Friday in the USA. But do some penance on Friday …. because it is a Friday.