EWTN Catholic Q&A
Re: Friday Abstinence
Question from Pamela on 12-27-2012:

Regarding the poster's question about abstaining from meat on Fridays, she can get information by googling on this. Canon 1251 is the directive on this topic, and it basically gives Catholics a choice to do penance some other way whether it giving up TV for a day or giving up something meaningful that would be sacrificial. Because of the moral climate we are experiencing at this time, the bishops are looking at re-instating the no meat on Fridays for penitential reasons. Cardinal Dolan made this statement to the conference of bishops, "The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent." We have made it a practice in our household to refrain from meat on most Wednesdays and consistently on Fridays. Our reasons are to atone for our sins and the sins of others. The good fruit that can come from this practice is developing the virtues of temperance and knowing that maybe with our sacrifices souls are being saved (including our own poor souls and those of our family and loved ones.) The poster may not be able to convince the priests she talks with, but she can do this and encourage others who want to deepen their spiritual life.

Answer by Richard Geraghty on 01-06-2013:

Dear Pamela,

Thanks you very much for your note.

Dr. Geraghty