[lit-ideas] Re: Ask the Ayatollah

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 12:39:11 -0700

> That  more a mini hunger strike than a religious fast.

Thanks for clearing that up, Irene, but the Pope was not calling for a hunger
strike as practiced by political prisoners, the 'Suffragettes,' and Gandhi, but
for fasting as a form of protest. The question was, do Catholics fast. The Pope
is Catholic; he fasts; therefore, some Catholics fast. If this argument goes by
so fast you don't notice it, consider this.

'On November 18, 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in keeping
with the letter and spirit of Pope Paul VI's constitution Pænitemini,
published some norms on penitential observance. In one part of the document,
they specifically wrote about what is expected and recommended for all
Catholics during the entire season of Lent. They stated: "We ask, urgently
and prayerfully, that we, as people of God, make of the entire Lenten season a
period of special penitential observance."

'In addition to making it clear that we are bound by obligation to fast and
abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and to abstain from meat on
every Friday of Lent, they also added the following: "For all other weekdays
of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and a self-imposed
observance of fasting."

'Remembering that fasting is a form of penance and self-denial, we must keep in
mind that we are urged to do this during the entire season of Lent, but it does
not have to be a fast from food on all those forty days. For example, those
Catholics whose health would be compromised, such as the sick, are not bound to
observe the Church's laws of fast and abstinence. But there are many other ways
in which we can show God how sorry we are for our sins. Among them are the
following: being generous with others, visiting the sick and lonely, feeding
the poor, studying Scripture, making the Stations of the Cross, praying the
rosary, practicing self-control, and many others.'

Don't forget to practice self-control.

Robert Paul
Reed College

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