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The restoration of the Friday fast is a historic day for English and Welsh Catholics

In the end, it’s obedience, not personal choice, that holds us together as a people

By on Monday, 16 May 2011

In the end, it’s obedience, not personal choice, that holds us together as a people

In the end, it’s obedience, not personal choice, that holds us together as a people

I do not often find myself moved by actual enthusiasm for official utterances emerging from meetings of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales. Now I do. A statement they issued on Saturday is not only wonderfully brief (around 400 words), it is written in a powerfully devotional style. Bishops’ Conference statements are sometimes businesslike about the affairs of the church, and sometimes relevant to the needs of society: they rarely convey any concern for the building up and nurture of the spiritual identity of those under their pastoral care—most of whom, frankly, have now come to look for guidance more to their parish priest and to the pope than to their bishops—so much for all the endless Küngian chatter about collegiality.

It’s not just that the pope doesn’t always pay any attention to the decisions of bishops’ conferences; neither do the “People of God”. But if collegiality consistently produced decisions, and English prose, of this quality, they would soon be up and running as a living reality in the life of the faithful. The text of this statement will no doubt be available elsewhere on the Herald’s homepage by the time this post is online. But I’m going to take the liberty of beginning by quoting it myself, in full, here:

By the practice of penance every Catholic identifies with Christ in his death on the cross. We do so in prayer, through uniting the sufferings and sacrifices in our lives with those of Christ’s passion; in fasting, by dying to self in order to be close to Christ; in almsgiving, by demonstrating our solidarity with the sufferings of Christ in those in need. All three forms of penance form a vital part of Christian living. When this is visible in the public arena, then it is also an important act of witness.

Every Friday is set aside by the Church as a special day of penance, for it is the day of the death of our Lord. The law of the Church requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays, or some other form of food, or to observe some other form of penance laid down by the Bishops’ Conference.

The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of Friday penance.

Respectful of this, and in accordance with the mind of the whole Church, the Bishops’ Conference wishes to remind all Catholics in England and Wales of the obligation of Friday Penance. The Bishops have decided to re-establish the practice that this should be fulfilled by abstaining from meat. Those who cannot or choose not to eat meat as part of their normal diet should abstain from some other food of which they regularly partake. This is to come into effect from Friday 16 September 2011 when we will mark the anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom.

Many may wish to go beyond this simple act of common witness and mark each Friday with a time of prayer and further self-sacrifice. In all these ways we unite our sacrifices to the sacrifice of Christ, who gave up his very life for our salvation.

What has now happened has been gathering momentum ever since the pope’s visit to Britain. It will be recalled that during the papal afterglow some very surprising people started to recommend the restoration of the Friday fast. Bishop Kieran Conry, for instance, argued that abstaining from meat on Friday “…. was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity, apart from going to Mass. It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital, and was something that Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn’t have meat like everybody else that day, and it was a source of a sort of pride – it marked us out as different”.

The point, of course, is not simply that we abstain from meat on Friday (if we do) as a personal devotion: it is that we once did it, and soon will once more, out of obedience to the authority of the Church: it was once, and, deo gratias, will be again, a constant reminder that once we have taken the initial choice of committing ourselves to being Catholics in the first place, we are under obedience; and that it is that obedience that holds us together as a people.

The Church used to make this clear beyond peradventure: a convert was said to “submit” to the authority of the Holy See. This usage was thought, in the heyday of the “Spirit of Vatican II”, unduly forbidding and was quietly dropped in favour of the less daunting usage to “come into full communion” with the Holy See. But downplaying the idea of obedience has had damaging effects on the collective mind of the faithful. “Conscience”, as Newman taught, isn’t an excuse—as so often it seems when used as a Küngspeak neologism—for simply doing as we see fit : a Catholic conscience, on the contrary is something that is shaped and informed by the Church’s teaching; we have to OBEY our conscience, whose dictates will often go against our inclinations.

As I argued in this column at the time, commenting on Bishop Kieran’s remarks last year, nothing stops us from abstaining from meat on a Friday as things stand now. In our household we do already: but the point is that we do it as a private rule of life rather than as an expression of the fact that we are part of the daily life of the Church. We used to do it, in fact, even when we were Catholic-minded Anglicans: that, too, was just a personal devotion. As such, it was a kind of nostalgic tribute to an order within the Church which seemed to have passed away for ever. As I wrote last year, “It would be wonderful if our bishops now actually said, in terms, that the old tradition is now restored by their authority, and formally pronounced that we ought not to eat meat on a Friday without good reason”. Now they have.

The bishops might now turn their attention to building on their achievement: what about restoring our midweek Holydays of Obligation? They too, were once as Bishop Conry said of the Friday fast, “a source of a sort of pride – [they] marked us out as different”. To walk into Church on a Sunday and find that it is not one of the Sundays in ordinary time but Corpus Christi, a kind of bonus for our Sunday obedience rather than something we have to pay for by the sacrifice of our time and freedom of action on a weekday—(rather like a supermarket bogof offer, two for the price of one)—is , I find, not merely intensely irritating, it just feels wrong , it’s almost insulting: an implicit declaration that, since you probably can’t be bothered to observe Corpus Christi on its proper day, here it is without any extra effort to you.

But that’s a subject to return to at greater length some other time. It’s a bit unfair, now the bishops have done something really substantial towards the restoration of what was lost from the spiritual life of the faithful through the reductionism of the post-Conciliar period (not, I hasten to insist, through the Council itself) to carry on as though they had done nothing. This is not nothing. It’s a splendid beginning. We’re not there yet. But now, we can feel that under the guidance of the present Holy Father, the journey continues. We’re on our way: Deo Gratias.

  • Joel Pinheiro

     Cheers for the Bishops of England and Wales!

    However, I cannot agree with your opinion that it is obedience that binds us together. Obedience is only valuable when it is an expression of love. CVII made a fatal mistake: it assumed the people were spiritually ready for complete freedom and autonomy, when in fact most were not, because they had been educated with this mentality of “obey, obey, obey!”. And when it wasn’t a matter of law anymore, they felt free to disregard it completely, with tragic results even in Mass attendance.

    Still, the goals of CVII were the true ones: a people inspired by faith and love of God is ever more capable of greater autonomy. It is not obedience to the dead letter of decrees and disciplines that holds us together; if it is, then we are together only on an external and pointless level. True togetherness is the result of personal choice. Not a once in a lifetime choice after which we give up reason and merely submit to whatever our superiors say; but a continuous choice to grow in holiness and love for each other, which includes following the guidance of our superiors, out of our trust for them and the desire to live a faith that is public as well as private. 

  • Michael Patrick

    If a Catholic concludes he cannot support this “statement” and eats meat anyway does he then commit a mortal sin as in the days of old?
    I ask because the “statement” talks about those who “choose not” to eat meat as if this Friday fasting is optional.
    How does this move fit in with the CCC of 1994 signed by JP2?
    What about when Englishmen or Welshmen go to America where no such proscription is in force, do they have to fast there?
    I think this is ridiculous and oppose this imposition in its entirety.
    MIchael Patrick  

     

  • DBMcGinnity

    This is a genuine question and does not deprecate the positive intentions of the church. What is the logic of eating fish on Fridays? As children we woke up the cooking bouquet of kippers, instead of bacon. It was wonderful, and there was no penance in enjoying this lovely breakfast. In the evening we enjoyed haddock or plaice with chips and in the summer we enjoyed a salmon salad. As stated, I am not being difficult, but I cannot see the logic in doing without meat, which is proving to toxic and unhealthy. Therefore instead of doing meaningless ‘symbolic’ penance, why perform an altruistic act to relieve the hardship and suffering of another person.  

  • Joel Pinheiro

    Why? Why don’t you embrace this public penance as a way of deepening your spiritually and joining in something with all other English Catholics? 

    As far as I know, each person is under the jurisdiction of the diocese they are currently in. If you are in America, you abide by American rules, not by the rules of your country of birth.

  • AgingPapist

    The Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the
    lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own
    Catholic identity. They recognise that the best habits are those which
    are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness. It is
    important that all the faithful be united in a common celebration of
    Friday penance.
    ——————————————————–
    Mature Catholics are fully capable of making Friday holy in their own way. Those who are going to derive any spiritual benefit from it don’t need bishops dictating to them what they must or must not do.  At a time when the Roman episcopacy has lost all moral authority, this is a weak and  flabby statement filled with escape clauses. A statement only the brain dead will take seriously. Those who will obey it will do so, and those who are capable of thinking for themselves will ignore it.

  • AgingPapist

    I too don’t buy this nonsense that  obedience binds us either.  Only a fanatical convert could come up with something this absurd, a devotee of the Spanish Inquisition, or one who molds his/her life around the “Syllabus of Errors”, and reads papal encyclicals as part of his bedtime reading programme.

  • AgingPapist

    The spirit of this decree is what is important here and not the fact that it is an imposition. You should want to eat fish on Friday, or fast, or abstain from beer and whiskey. The People of God don’t need these bishops to tell us or anyone to be holy and how to go about doing it.  They are the last people on earth to be telling the rest of us to be penitent.

  • Joss Heywood

    I’m sure Jesus will be delighted we are going to fast on Fridays. After all, that’s what he lived and died for, didn’t he? Didn’t he?
    That must be what he meant when he wanted us to be a light to the nations – so that they can all fast on Fridays too!

  • Michael Patrick

    If anyone should be doing public penance for their sins they’re to be found in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, not the laity.
    As for me not embracing publc penance I refer you to Mt6,1-4; Mt6, 6-7; Mt6, 14-18; Luke11, 46 and Mark7,17-23. 
    I have always been brought up to suffer in silence (with a happy face as much as possible) and pray in private.
    If the bishops said or mean that this is something voluntary then I have no beef (no pun intended!) with it, but if they said its obligatory under pain of mortal sin I can’t in all good conscience agree with them.
    I also resent the implication that Catholics who do not subscribe to this new resolution are are any less Catholic than those Catholics who do or that they are worse witnesses to Christ merely because they do not publicly proclaim they don’t eat meat on Fridays.

  • Michael Patrick

    Objectively this is an imposition if its obligatory under pain of mortal sin. But I agree that we should want to do things and not be forced to do them…isn’t that how Jesus taught and what real love is all about?

  • Catholic365

     Apparently you haven’t heard, but it’s the Kingdom of God, not the republic. A kingdom real kingdom has a king who commands absolute obedience in His kingdom through his representatives. AgingPapist? Must be one of the “Spirit of Vatican 2 crowd.

  • Anonymous

     I long for the day when this sort of modernist drivel once and for all disappears from Catholic discourse.

  • Dio

    Pray, what´s WRONG in reading papal encyclicas? Many of them are very good reading and substantial food for thought. Maybe you should try them, once in a while and resist the temptation of indulging yourself on Küng and suchlike drivel. 

  • Anonymous

    When the Bishops speak of people who “choose not” to eat meat on a Friday I think they mean those people who abstain anyway already for some other motive such as being vegetarians.  They are suggesting that those people should do something extra as a penance on Fridays. It is interesting how some of the responses to this discussion show how difficult some find the concept of obeying our pastors thus illustrating what damage has taken place in the last half century. Nicolas Bellord 

  • Peter Philip

    AgingPapist you have a spirit of rebellion influencing you. God placed authority in His Church which is exercised by the Bishops. As Jesus said of the Scribes and the Pharisees, “they sit in Moses’ seat”. Humble yourself man and gladly take up this penance proscribed by the Bishops to us and to themselves.

  • W Oddie

     Real love is obedience to Christ’s Mandatum:’ A new COMMANDMENT I give to you, that you should love one another even as I love you’. We obey out of love for Christ and his Church. If we simply do as we want, we love only ourselves.

  • DBMcGinnity

    I have no wish to be disrespect or unkind about your “modernist drivel” remark, but it is facile to make such an assertion without clarification of what this means. It is a political and economic fact that modernism and secularism are now established ways of life. It is clear that some bloggers wish to return to an epoch of authoritarianism and papal obedience. However laudable these aspirations may be, it is most unlikely, improbable or maybe impossible that the era prior to John XXIII will ever return.
    I am old enough to remember the reign of Pius XII and I feel nostalgia and pathos for that that period. However, there has been world social change and the Catholic Church has not changed with it. People do not wish to go hungry and reside in a pigsty in this world in the hope of eternal happiness in the next, while the bishop lives in a palace.
    But sadly, concomitant attitudes in that era were unjust, cruel and tyrannical with anachronistic, unrealistic, authoritarianism such as papal infallibility. Those days will never return, because of what you call “modernist drivel” (reason and rationality). Human intellect and dignity will never again allow a group of celibate misogynistic old men who are hidden away in a medieval palace to dictate the fate of the people of the world.
    unrealistic, authoritarianism such as papal infallibility. Those days will never return, because of what you call “modernist drivel” (reason and rationality). Human intellect and dignity will never again allow a group of celibate misogynistic old men who are hidden away in a medieval palace to dictate the fate of the people of the world.
    Lastly, you refer to the opinions and attitudes of other bloggers as ‘drivel’, yet you wish for your views to be respected, that seems like a paradox. I mentioned before that those catholic bloggers who claim to be most devout are also the most obnoxious, uncharitable and unkind with caustic rhetorical abuse. 

  • W Oddie

     Why is it that Catholic “liberals” — (quotation marks indicating irony, so illiberal they often are, as in this case) — always despise converts so much? Especially ones who try to take the Catholic religion as defined in the CCC (not just their personal version of it) seriously? Is it because they make them, the liberals,  feel awkward about the fact that they don’t take it seriously themselves? Or do they just feel that conversion is a waste of time, that anyone who really wants to become a Catholic must be unhinged, that they’d be much better off if they were still protestants? I bet that’s it, really; they probably half-wish they were protestants themselves. The trouble is that if they did become protestants, they’d be just like all the other protestants, and nobody would pay them any attention any more. Perhaps that’s what I should have done, ignore this “aging papist”.

    I know: in future, that’s just what I will do.

  • W Oddie

    Sarcasm, they say, is the lowest form of wit; and this isn’t even very clever sarcasm. 

  • Anonymous

    Like many words associated with Catholic belief (e.g. dogmatic, Jesuitical), “obedient” has become something of a term of abuse. This indicates how far our culture has travelled from its roots. I should think that in earlier usages the notion of obedience strongly implied loving obedience.

  • W Oddie

     ”To thine own self be true”, eh? — the watchword of Polonius, the biggest silly old fool in all of Shakespeare. 

    But it’s not what Aging Papist says, it’s the way that he says it. Disagree with him, and you’re brain dead. 

  • W Oddie

     ” Obedience is only valuable when it is an expression of love”: yes, but see my response to Michael Patrick above: we love out of OBEDIENCE  to Christ’s Mandatum; and we obey Christ and his Church as an expression of love for them

  • JA

    To the stake with you. 

  • JA

    And where does that leave you ? You have never had a thought that did not originate in The Tablet. 

  • Michael Patrick

    “ A new COMMANDMENT I give to you, that you should love one another even as I love you.”
    The commandment says ‘should’ not ‘must’ which serves to solidify my position that we all have consciences and Christ wants us to use them to come to him. Force and coercion are absent from his teachings but this declaration is just that, as it was 50 years ago and before that. If you read what I said in reply to Joel Pinheiro above and the verses I’ve quoted you might better understand where I’m coming from. You, as with the bishops, might have nothing to offer as penance except not eating meat on Fridays but adding this burden to Catholics who are jobless, hungry and even homeless is preposterous. In any event meat is well nigh one of the cheapest foodstuffs going these days and I shall continue to provide same for the hungry and encourage them to eat it whether its a Friday or not…. and I shall too. If this “disobedience” earns me the fire of hell, so be it. But according to Matthew 25, 31- 46, I don’t think so. 

  • JA

     Or, according to Matthew 16 :19, you just might.Why don’t you chill out, you protestant twit ? You’re going to die of “left-wing-social-justice” apoplexy.Newsflash, my brother : the bishops and the popes call the shots in the Church. PERIOD. Vat. II didn’t change that, because that’s the way Christ set up the Church. If you don’t like it, go join the Anglicans. They are having a do-your-own-thing-my-”conscience”-is-supreme-love-fest over there. The place for protestants is in a Protestant church.

  • Weary Convert

    The essential point here is whether the Bishops are trying to reinstate the previous ruling under what, as others have asked, the sanction of mortal sin, i.e. an eternal damnation that with present ideas of the universe, could last for the equivalent of trillions of years.  If that is the case, it is absurd and will merely expose a group of men, generally seen by the world as the comfortable and complacent protectors of child abusers, to rightful ridicule. 

  • Joel Pinheiro

    But don’t we obey His Mandatum out of love for Him? Or is it obedience for obedience’s sake (or perhaps for fear of punishment)? 

  • Joel Pinheiro

    I’m a convert myself. I think AgingPapist goes too far. I think the encyclicals would be an EXCELLENT bedtime reading program! And what’s more, their emphasis has not been, for some decades now, on obedience in pre-Vatican II terms. The Popes now are, like truly wise masters, much more willing to propose than impose. And lay Catholics, as a result, will be much stronger in their Faith, which will grow beyond the bounds of mere obedience and following of rules.

    I do think there is something wrong about the way the Church handled the question of authority for some centuries now (nothing that compromised Her sacred mission and the essence of Her teaching and practice, surely). And Vatican II was a huge step in the right direction, despite the abuses done in its name. When ancient and medieval thinkers used terms like law, precept and obedience, they meant something much different from our current legalistic notions of submitting one’s will and shutting off one’s reason to an authority or to the letter of the law. Perhaps the problem came with William Ockham and nominalism; perhaps it was something already there from the beginning of the Roman Church, so bound up with Roman Law.

    Who knows… Anyway, enough rambling. I hope the bishops of England take this new rule as an opportunity to instruct and help the faithful grow in the faith, and not as one more little imposition that must be followed under pain of Hell.

  • Joel Pinheiro

    Everyone can benefit from penance and fasting, both clergy and laity. I agree that it would be sad to see the rule imposed by mere threat of Hell. But despite that, obeying the bishops and joining the whole Church of your country in this little abstinence will be good for your soul and, as the bishops pointed out, will be an effective witness to the life of Catholic faith for all who want to see it.

    Don’t go around proclaiming your Friday penance. Don’t make a big deal of it so people can see how good you are. But following it (and with a happy face, as you say!) can only be good. Our spiritual life mustn’t be a purely personal thing; there is a public side as well, where we all join as one in some practices and devotions. It is up to the Church authorities to determine the ways that this public spirituality will be lived.  

  • Joel Pinheiro

    But do you think the bishops would object to a poor man eating meat if that is the only thing he can afford???

    This rule is to be followed within each person’s capabilities. If you have health problems, or is too weak, too old, too young, too poor, or live too far from the sea to buy fresh fish, then don’t follow it with a clear conscience. No-one would condemn you for that.

    Now, those who have ample capabilities of following the new rule, why not follow it? Why make disobedience rather than obedience the default attitude? 

  • Michael Patrick

    What is it with you people who don’t read a post before they reply. When you are say “why not follow it” I’m with you because that’s voluntary, not forced or coercive. Read my posts.

  • Anonymous

    Obedience deserves explication – We deserve the wisdom and guardianship to grow in understand why – hence what once we did out of obedience we cannot possibly consider doing anything but – due to love!

    That’s where the early 20th century Church went wrong – we forgot the apologetics – we never explained the why – hence when the council came we couldn’t defend the sacred praxis..because we just complied out of duty and a comforing ritualised group familiarity…

    we forgot the why – hence when we had walked down their road of the council  with a false sense of security claiming we knew everything and convinced we had answers for everything – when the scoundrel turned on us and confronted us with the ‘why?’ – we became dumbstruck and incredulous..- we had no answer for them….

    Dr Oddie’s right about obedience – but obedience to a responsible authority who knows the obedient need the why explained to them…unyil the growth in understanding becomes overwhelmed with a love for the thing itself….

  • Michael Patrick

    Methinks you doth rant too much. What a laugh to be called a protestant but for you think that you must be a radical traditionalist who brooks no thought other than his own. So sad. And why don’t you have the decency to tell us who you are and not hide behind initials? You know something JA, you need a course in civility and good manners. Until then please let more polite and more sensible people have the floor. Thanks.

  • Weary Convert

    On the contrary Mr Oddie, it appears that you cannot distinguish between sarcasm and irony which for, “a leading English Catholic writer,” as either you describe yourself or at least allow yourself to be so described, seems to say little for current Catholic literature.

  • Weary Convert

    If the concept of “Absolute obedience” is applied, it quickly leads to ”we were only obeying orders.” The fact is that on this earth, absolute obedience has been a disaster.  Look for example  to those who expected absolute obedience – obviously Stalin and Hitler, and Genghis Khan and the Zulu kings, Peter the Great, Louis XIV and so many others.  Further, if he looks at the long series of Popes who misruled  the Papal States in an orgy of corruption and incompetence, the gentleman will soon find that the results are always the same – absolute obedience finishes in misery.  But there was a time in the Church when a Council had to sort out the pretensions of three concurent Popes claiming absolute obedience (and please do not pretend as one writer on this website did recently, that there was only one Pope and two Antipopes – all three were valid “within their obedience”).  So, I suggest that history shows us some  democracy in the Church could be a very good thing.

  • DBMcGinnity

    Five eights of the world population scarcely have enough food to eat and the chief concern of the Catholic church seems to be whether to choose between a tuna fish or roast beef sandwich on a Friday. Imagine it being a sin to eat a roast beef sandwich on a Friday. It is little wonder that the bishops have lost so much deference and credibility. Human beings have evolved with free will, with the ability and freedom to choose what is right, for them. There is nothing wrong with a person agreeing to abide by the rules or policies of the church and to be guided by the bishop and the Pope, and the established catholic church dogma, if they wish to do so.I place emphasis on “if they wish to do so”, because no human being of intellect or dignity would willingly allow themselves to be subservient or submissive to another. However if some Catholics choose to be deferential and obsequious to the Majesty of the church and be obedient in all things, that is a good thing and denotes self discipline, which I applaud.Fifty years ago, British civil servants wore morning suits and bowler hats, and heads of state wore castor hats on official and ceremonial occasions. Now they do not, because social attitudes and values have changed. Last Sunday at mass, the priest wore a plain while chasuble without any decoration whatsoever, it could have been a white bed sheet. So with the church, I anticipate that over the next fifty years, all ceremonial attire such as mitres and golden vestments will also disappear. Catholic 365 wrote, the church is not a republic, I will not argue, but I suggest that the concept of Novus Ordo Seclorum (Latin for “New Order of the Ages”) that appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, first designed in 1782, be explored further in the context of the future of the Roman Catholic Church.If any blogger is tempted to retort to my premise with insults, sarcasm and abuse please study the premise first, and then reply with a cogent response.

  • Lorraineb

    The world is in turmoil and wars going on, people suffering through no fault of their own and what a pitiful concept of penance.
    Why haven’t the bishops (since the pope doesn’t seem to have a clue) called for a novena of concentrated prayer and fasting? We do not have a single leader in our church hierarchy?  They are all as bad as our American politicians-only out for themselves.  God help all of us-Satan is definitely at the door.
    Lifelong Catholic who despises hypocrisy,

  • W Oddie

    Do you think this man really doesn’t understand what drivel this is? Probably not: oh how deeply depressing. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/dpfromwyo David Parkhurst

     Maybe it would be helpful to chime in with an Orthodox view of fasting. We view fasting as medicine for the soul. If you do not take your medicine, you will not be healed. God is not mad at you for not fasting; it is only yourself that you are hurting by not availing yourself of this spiritual remedy. Instead of fretting over whether bishops have the right to impose fasting disciplines (and if you think they don’t Protestantism may be a better fit for you), maybe you should contemplate on how fasting may draw you closer to Christ.

  • revert

    Well said.   J

  • revert

    It seems to me that abstinence and  fasting are things that Jesus himself did in obedience to the will of His Father in Heaven.  He did not bring a cheeseburger into the desert with him, and found when he was tempted by the devil that he was able to resist.  Are we better than He at this?  Should we not strive to follow in the footsteps of our greatest Teacher  that we may be closer to Our Father too?  So we may be blessed.  He died a brutal death in loving obedience to His Father’s will for each and all of us.  If fasting and abstinence even one day a week will unite us with his suffering in some small way I hope we will lovingly  obey.

  • Weary Convert

    So, the carefully thought out response from our ”leading English Catholic writer,” is to claim my view that,  “absolute obedience finishes in misery” is “drivel.” Oh dear, how “deeply depressing” indeed that he does not even try to prove the opposite but then to misquote the immortal Mandy, “He couldn’t, could he?”

  • Weary Convert

    But why not complete the quotation?  ”This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow. as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man”
     
    Not bad advice from “the biggest silly old fool in Shakespeare?”
     
    Really, Mr Oddie, for a “leading English Catholic writer”, I am getting a bit worried about your literary output.
     

  • J R G Edwards

     To restore the Friday abstinence (NOT fast,and NOT necessarily fish) is a good move. To restore the proper Holidays of Obligation would be better still. Best of all would be to get rid of the Sign of Peace – or,at the very least,to confine it to a minority of Masses.

  • DBMcGinnity

     
    The ‘sign of peace’ is intrusive and intimidating and is in effect forced or pseudo friendliness that not everyone enjoys.  I am friendly and congenial by nature, but this “golden syrup’ is just too much to bear. It is disrespectful to the concept of body space and personal privacy. At one time it was a simple gesture of recognition of the persons adjacent and was essentially symbolic. But now the ‘sign of peace’ has become the sign of nuisance where people want to swap family photos, check diary appointments (sorry for the exaggeration), or ask people out to dinner or maybe to have a dance. This nonsense should be dumped forthwith.It is disrespectful to the concept of body space and personal privacy. At one time it was a simple gesture of recognition of the persons adjacent and was essentially symbolic. But now the ‘sign of peace’ has become the sign of nuisance where people want to swap family photos, check diary appointments (sorry for the exaggeration), or ask people out to dinner or maybe to have a dance. This nonsense should be dumped forthwith.
    It is disrespectful to the concept of body space and personal privacy. At one time it was a simple gesture of recognition of the persons adjacent and was essentially symbolic. But now the ‘sign of peace’ has become the sign of nuisance where people want to swap family photos, check diary appointments (sorry for the exaggeration), or ask people out to dinner or maybe to have a dance. This nonsense should be dumped forthwith.

  • DBMcGinnity

    Could someone please explain why the message appears duplicated and disjointed when that is not the message that was posted. Is this some sort of technique to devalue the message or to discourage the the blogger from sending further messages? 

  • Weary Convert

    Dear Mr McGinnity  – I have the same problem – my post immediately below (at least at present) was in response to Mr Oddie’s of 2 days ago (which was in turn in response to Ageing Papist), viz

    ” ‘To thine own self be true’, eh? — the watchword of Polonius, the biggest silly old fool in all of Shakespeare.” (it follows on with a comment irrelevant to my reply)Perhaps Mr Oddie has built in a default mechanism on the basis that “if it irritates me, mess it up!”

    Whatever the case, all these comments are minor issues.  The essence is (I repeat), are the bishops intending to apply a sanction of “mortal sin” to the proposed re-introduction of a Friday fast/abstinance or whatever.  If that is the case, it will be exposed to rightful ridicule.

  • guest

     So as someone who doesn’t like fish that much, I am left with the choice of fasting or abandoning any social life on a Friday night, the only night of the week I drink. Not only that but I rarely eat red meat more than once a fortnight, I mostly eat chicken, they haven’t thought this through with the reality of peoples lives. It was suggested that vegatartians give up carrots when I first heard this..seriously?

  • W Oddie

     Completing the quotation doesn’t change its meaning, or in any way refute my argument.  A cruel and corrupt man, if he is true to himself  will be cruel and corrupt to others. The problem isn’t that he isn’t being true to himself: the problem is his cruelty and corruption. That will probably have to be dealt with by others; it certainly won’t be solved by not being ‘false to any man’.