EXCELLENT MODEL for other Bishops about how to handle requests for St. Patrick’s Day dispensations for Lenten Friday Abstinence

From Twitter by a reader here…

This is a great model.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Dustin F, OCDS says:

    Might these also be good suggestions for the regular Friday penance, as a substitute for abstinence from meat (or otherwise)?

  2. Philmont237 says:

    Me as a bishop: “The observance of St. Patrick’s Day in this diocese will be on Saturday, March 18th. You can eat your corned beef on Saturday. Seriously people, this isn’t much of a sacrifice.”

  3. Herman Joseph says:

    Bishop Fernandes, of the Columbus, Ohio diocese, also put conditions on eating meat on St. Patrick’s day…

    Visit any church in the Diocese of Columbus named in honor of St. Patrick. Those churches include:
    St. Patrick Catholic Church – 280 North Grant Ave., Columbus, OH
    St. Patrick Church – 61 South Union St., London, OH)
    St. Patrick Catholic Church – 1170 Ohio 668, Junction City, OH

    Assist at Mass at any church, chapel, or oratory on St. Patrick’s Day

    Pray the “Breastplate of St. Patrick”, which is attributed to St. Patrick

    Engage in some pious devotion such as the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, or Eucharistic Adoration

    Perform an act of comparable penance — such as abstaining from meat — on some other occasion during the third week of Lent

    So glad it’s not a blanket dispensation.

  4. JonS says:

    Great idea but I find it strange going to Mass, Adoration or praying the Rosary are considered penitential. It sad Catholics don’t WANT to do all three of these every day.

  5. Josephus Corvus says:

    My 80+ y.o. mom came up with an alternative: either you abstain from meat like usual or you abstain from alcohol. :-)

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    That’s an interesting way to go… because arguably, in the past there were more people who were fasting/abstaining really hard, and this provided a Mid-Lent break that might be needed badly. Whereas now, not so much.

  7. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    Clever, I think. But I wouldn’t say that doing solemn things on a solemn day is a form of penance: part of what annoys me about feast days in our secular prison cell olis precisely that we often aren’t permitted (Christmas and Easter excepted) to treat the day as sacred on account of work and other such forms of protestant ethics. Roll out of bed well early, swing tools all day, and try to herd the young ones off to an evening mass… ugh. (I suppose THAT’D be the penance)

    Although… have a Pontifical High Mass in the Usus Antiquior to commemorate the day at a decent hour… and maybe see how many of the young folk turn up to pray before starting into their libations.

  8. roma247 says:

    You know it’s really sad when you have bishop envy over something as simple as this.

    I think that tens of thousands of Catholics like me would settle just for having a bishop that was actually Catholic.

    *sniffle* *sob*

  9. hvratstpls2 says:

    What a grace filled balance that the Bishop offered! Grace upon grace…and corn beef or whatever AFTER prayer, Mass and the Rosary! Beautiful.

  10. albinus1 says:

    The bishop of Austin gave a straightforward dispensation.

  11. campello says:

    Bravo Zulu Bishop Rhoades!!

  12. RBill says:

    I don’t know nothing from nobody, but I’m with Philmont237…if Bishops can move the observance of the Epiphany and the Ascension around, they can move St. Patrick. Raise the bar a little so people will know what they do has purpose and meaning. If abstinence can be “waived” off, then it really means nothing.

  13. APX says:

    I feel consuming corned beef is a penance in itself.

    The last time St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Friday the Irish pastor at my liberal-leaning home parish celebrated the day with a pig roast. I emailed the Bishop and asked how the faithful was to not be scandalized by this non-observance of Friday Abstinence in Lent. He informed me that Fridays in Lent in Canada weren’t days of abstinence.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Is it penitential to attend Mass when there’s no Sunday obligation? Why, yes.

    Is it fun to attend Mass on a Saint’s feast? Why, yes.

    Is there a contradiction between the two? Why, no.

    It’s the Catholic language: penance can be fun; after all, fasting itself, especially pre-Passiontide fasting, can be a lot of fun once you’ve trained a bit. A walking pilgrimage that involves aching feet is unquestionably penitential right, but is it fun? Yes, of course.

    (On a related note: to deny to yourself the pleasure of a sin that you know to be wrong, and so, while having control of yourself, you wouldn’t do anyway, and then perhaps some bit a third of the chocolate you’d otherwise eat while eating the remaining to thirds: there’s a word for that and to all our shock it is “mortification”. Well, yes.)

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  16. PostCatholic says:

    You could observe it the way they do in Ireland these days–and I was in Ireland for St Patrick’s Day last year–by completely ignoring anything the Catholic Church has to say about the matter or any other. That’s the done thing nowadays.

  17. hwriggles4 says:

    While Bishops Rhoades and Fernandes explained this well, my bishop issued a statement today as well. Bishop Burns cited documentation explaining to the laity that sometimes a dispensation can be granted, and St. Patrick’s Day is a Feast Day celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. The bishop also “strongly encouraged ” his flock to do some form of penance on St. Patrick’s Day if a Catholic chooses not to abstain from meat. This statement from Bishop Burns (Dallas) can be found online. Now I wonder if our council will still be having a Friday night Fish Fry on the 17th.

    As for the Austin Diocese I went to a parish website where a friend of mine from college is the parochial vicar. (FYI – several priests ordained for the Austin Diocese within the past 20-25 years are alumni from Texas A&M University). The bulletin had an explanation from the bishop of Austin and also asked for an act of penance that day or abstaining from meat another day during the week of St. Patrick’s Day.

    While I am of Irish heritage (although I know very little of Irish culture) I would think most of these once every seven years dispensations are more common in the northeastern United States.

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