ASK FATHER: Pork butt for the Sacred Heart

From a reader…


So .  . . I have to smoke some pork butt today for a get together tomorrow. It will send sweet odors heavenward, low and slow and very very tempting for us mortals still stuck on Earth.  All day long that scent will drift through the air.

It got me wondering about Feast days that might exempt us from abstinence.  Is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus a major feast day, or will it be a particularly efficacious day of abstinence?

Canon 1251 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church says:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Today, 24 June 2022 is…

a) a Friday,
b) the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (bumping John the Baptist who won’t mind), and as such today is
c) a Solemnity (Novus calendar – 1st Class Vetus), and therefore today is
d) NOT a day for obligatory abstinence, etc.

Some printed trad calendars not withstanding, we go by the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  And that’s the Code as it is now, not as it was or as we think it ought to be.

Hence, staying on the “heart” image…

If you want to eat meat today, you can do so with a light heart, even if it goes straight to your left anterior descending.

If you don’t want to eat meat today, you can abstain with a light heart, even if it is vegan.

Would today be a “particularly efficacious” day of abstinence?  How should I know?   That would be between you and God, who knows you better than you know yourself.

Okay, I’ll try to answer in some way.

Sure, I guess it could be, but then again, so could it be next Tuesday, depending on why you were doing it, the secret motions or your mind and heart, the circumstances.  Frankly, I think that each and every willing, loving, joyful act of penance, for – for example – reparation for sins is met with by graces from God and smiles all around in Heaven.  How many graces and how large the smiles, I cannot say.   I think, “lots” might have something to do with the number, and “really” might have to do with the largeness of the smiles, at least from those with bodies, which aren’t too many, come to think of it.

Obligatory abstinence on such a joyful feast as today seems somewhat contrary to our Catholic identity, but whatever smokes your butt.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. Between the feast day and the Supreme Court decision today, it’s a day to celebrate. Here, it’s a hours d’oeuvres and champagne, then a roast local chicken!

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