March 7, 2008

Friday Abstinence Rant

Today I was out doing some shopping at the local strip mall, and I saw a woman and a girl wearing a catholic school uniform walk into the Chinese buffet. So I thought, so much for the Friday abstinence. But then I rebuked myself, thinking, just because the kid goes to catholic school doesn't mean that they're Catholics and besides, it's perfectly possible to keep the Friday abstinence at the Chinese buffet. I thought about using my faculty to commute days of penance on them secretly, but then I decided to mind my own business.

It is amazing to me how, with all of the impiety and irreligion in the Catholic Church, how seriously we take the Friday abstinence during Lent. There are bishops who ignore creepy and child abusing priests, thus incurring the curse of the Lord himself (Matthew 18:6) There are priests who conveniently forget or just ignore their promise to keep the daily Liturgy of the Hours on behalf of the Church of the world. There are religious who don't even attend the Sunday Eucharist. There are parents who take pictures of their kid on first Holy Communion day, and aren't in church again until the kid's confirmation. Some of those kids who receive Confirmation won't be seen again until they come back to get married. And don't get me started on my own sins.

And yet, even the vaguest Catholics keep the Friday abstinence during Lent, doing the penance of eating fish sticks, eggplant parm wedges, plain pizza, and tuna melts.

4 comments:

ben in denver said...

I have kept friday abstinence myself at Chinese restaurants. There are a number of dishes based on seafood and tofu (nearly all of which are better and healthier than the filet-o-fish), so I will often select a Chinese establishment if I need to eat out on a Friday.

I think Friday abstinence does a lot to forge catholic identity. About a year ago I was at a lecture given by Jody Bottum of First Thnigs Magazine at the Pastoral Center. He spoke at length about catholic identity issues. At one point he asked Archbishop Chaput, who had hosted the lecture to bring back mandatory Friday abstinence year round. The room errupted in applause.

His excellency did not respond.

holy water salt said...

just had my tuna fish...

: )

Charles of New Haven said...

Aha, Ben! Thanks for the story about my Capuchin brother the archbishop!

Barb, sfo said...

Actually, if you are going to eat out on a Friday, the Chinese buffet is the place to go! Lots of seafood dishes and meatless options. AND that General Tso's Chicken sitting in the middle of the line is a perfect way to "offer it up"....

I had a bagel and a Reese's peanut butter cup (that was the protein!)