I am not in the habit of blogging on current events. I barely have time to follow them and am usually a few days behind, but the decision by the Bishop of Steubenville to invite his flock to resume the practice of Friday abstinence from meat (outside of Lent) has me enamored! He had his letter read after all of the Sunday Masses in his diocese a few weeks ago, during Lent.
Now, here is what my husband and I refer to as a "Bishop with a Backbone!" I love that the Diocese of Steubenville has actually posted catechetical materials to go along with this invitation. The lessons they have prepared are practical and meaningful. Be sure to check them out! I especially appreciate that Bishop Conlon has tied the practice of abstinence to prayer for the protection of life!
The Catholic Church never completely did away from Friday abstinence; she merely instructed the faithful that it may be substituted by a different but comparable type of fasting. I will freely admit that I was never taught such doctrine, despite five and a half years of Catholic elementary school and three and a half years of CCD. I was always taught to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, period. Only during college was I introduced to the concept of voluntarily abstaining outside of Lent.
(What can you expect from a CCD program which taught teenagers that a sin is only a sin if you think it is a sin? I still have flashbacks to that classroom and the completely dumbfounded feeling I had listening to my teachers during that lesson.)
We have gone back and forth on abstaining from meat on the Fridays outside of Lent in our family, but I am convicted in a new way to obligate myself to this practice. My only question/concern is then, how does that make the Fridays in Lent any different from the rest of the year? Are they supposed to be different? If so, how can I make them distinct? Send me some comments if you have some answers, please!
Kudos to Bishop Conlon for making our "Bishops with Backbones" list!