Thursday, February 5, 2009


Rules for Fasting and Abstinence.
1. All persons who have completed their 14th year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast from the completion of their 18th year of age up to the beginning of their 60th year (ages 19 thru 59 inclusively). Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance. (Can. 1252)
2. Complete Abstinence are days which forbids the eating of meat as well as soup and gravy made from meat.
3. Complete Fast are days where only one full meal is allowed with two other meatless meals. The two other meatless meals should be sufficient to maintain strength but both together should not be equal to another full meal.
4. Days of Fast and Abstinence:
a). Complete Fast and Abstinence is to be observed under pain of mortal sin only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
b). Abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of Lent and on all Fridays during the year (but without fault or sin if one fails to do so).
c). All Fridays throughout the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the Universal Church. (Can. 1250)
First place is given to abstinence from flesh meat on all Fridays. However, if abstinence is not observed, then some other works of self-denial or personal penance is to be observed. Examples would be doing voluntary work in hospitals, visiting the sick, serving the needs of the aged and the lonely, instructing the youth in the Faith, meeting our obligations to our families, our friends, our neighbors, etc. Examples of Lenten devotions would be sermons, Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, etc.
Note: On other Fridays during the year, one is allowed to commute abstinence into another form of penance (e.g., the Way of the Cross, etc.).
5. On the weekdays of Lent, daily Mass is strongly recommended as well as a self-imposed observance of fasting.
6. Whenever a solemnity (First Class Feast) falls on a Friday, abstinence is dispensed (Can. 1251).
Can. 1249. All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days Christ’s faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.
Can. 1250. The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251. Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Bishops’ 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.

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