From a reader…
I have a question and I think you are the perfect ossified manualist to give me the answers I need.
I am a vegetarian. When it comes to Friday Penance, am I covered because I am already not eating meat? I understand this likely violates the “spirit” of the law in that I haven’t really given up meat as a penitential practice, but I was wondering if you could shine some light if I have fulfilled the letter of the law.
You will certainly have fulfilled the letter of the law.
However, if you want to be more perfect in your devotion, you could find some other pleasant or good thing to give up on days of penance. Also, remember that positive performance of good works is also good.
The giving of alms is a penitential practice. In the ancient Roman Church there were very many more fast days. People gave up foods, but the money they saved by not buying them they gave to the poor.