From a reader…
The feast of the Epiphany is a Friday this year. Our FSSP calendar has it marked as a day of abstinence, according to 1962 law, but my TLM planner from The Liturgical Year calendar family does not have it marked as abstinence. Is abstinence lifted tomorrow for the First Class feast, or is it a day of abstinence?
Speaking of FSSP calendars or Ordos… the FSSP sent me one this year… but it was LAST YEAR’s. Thanks.
Let us be clear that Epiphany, called Twelfth Night, is twelve days after Christmas. Thus, has it been celebrated in both East (first) and West for centuries. Modern bishops have cavalierly moved its celebration to a Sunday, supposedly so more people can experience the… didactic element of those readings and preaching, I guess. They don’t expect people to go to MASS more than once a week. That would be too much, I guess. Why plan and arrange your lives as if these things made a difference?
Epiphany, real Epiphany 2023, is on a Friday, 6 January. Sunday, 8 January, 14 days after Christmas, is not Epiphany. In some poorly operating minds, 12 = 14, just as 2+2=5. In reality, 12 = 12, and 12 ?14.
In the Vetus Ordo it is also possible to celebrate midweek feasts “externally”, on a Sunday. The Feast is not moved. It is observed on the Sunday.
Since Epiphany is a Solemnity in the new-fangled calendar, and since the 1983 Code of Canon Law says in can. 1251:
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.
Remember, you can ask your parish priest to dispense you or commute acts of penance.
Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor [parish priest] can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.
Members of religious communities and third orders should consult their own regulations and review to whom they turn for dispensations.
Also, you can substitute another form of penance for abstaining from meat. Make it penitential, however. Abstinence from meat has good reasoning behind it. For some, however, there abstinence from other things can be of greater spiritual effect.
Also, if you belong to a parish named Epiphany of Our Lord, that can also soften that Friday obligation.
“But Father! But Father!”, some moaning bellyachers might be fussing. “The ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ tells is – and this is the Holy Spirit talking, I know! – that we have to reinterpret everything that there ever was before that turning point in the history of the universe because we have to deal with climate change and racism and immigration. It is necessary that Epiphany be moved and it is obligatory to agree with that, because… because… OBEY! Not only obey, but also shut up. You shouldn’t say these things and we don’t want to hear them because we are walking together in a synodal process of listening to all sides except some sides … like YOURS! Because YOU HATE VATICAN II!”
In interpreting the law, we should always use strict interpretations. That doesn’t mean been strict with people, but rather about the interpretation, not reading into it something that doesn’t have to be read into it. Ironically, being strict with the law makes us looser with it. The idea is is that anything that imposes an obligation or restriction has to be strictly interpreted because that strictness gives people more freedom. Similarly, any law which provides a favor or benefit must be interpreted as loosely, generously as possible so as to widen the favors and benefits. Odiosa restringi et favores convenit ampliari, or else odiosa sunt restringenda et favoribilia amplianda/ampliantur. That is to say, be narrow and picky with laws that restrict and wide and generous with laws that grant things.
Epiphany, real Epiphany, is on Friday, 6 January. Epiphany is a Solemnity, even though its observance is on Sunday. They can’t move Epiphany. They can move its liturgical celebration.