[lit-ideas] Re: Ask the Ayatollah

  • From: "Andy Amago" <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2006 16:58:54 -0400

> [Original Message]
> From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
> To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 10/7/2006 3:39:18 PM
> Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ask the Ayatollah
> > That  more a mini hunger strike than a religious fast.
> Thanks for clearing that up, Irene, 

My pleasure.  Just ask.

>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. 

I don't see the difference.  Fasting as a form of protest is political.  Or
it's an emotional problem, like anorexia, a form of control.  It's not
really about God.

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
> with the letter and spirit of Pope Paul VI's constitution Pænitemini,
> published some norms on penitential observance. In one part of the
> 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, 

The Catholics are people of God, the Jews are God's Chosen, Hezbollah is
the Party of God.  American Heart Association endorsements are harder to
come by than God's imprimatur.

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
> 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
> of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and a
> observance of fasting."

That's what I want to know.  How does one fast every day of the week?  By
the guidelines as I understand them, vegans are very spiritual people,
which in fact they are.  Let's all be vegans.  

> 'Remembering that fasting is a form of penance and self-denial, 

I don't think penance is that good an idea, since it's punishing the self
for no reason, but self-denial in today's society of more would be very
useful and stress reducing.  Self-denial in terms of consuming in general,
not just food.

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,
> 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,
> the poor, studying Scripture, making the Stations of the Cross, praying
> rosary, practicing self-control, and many others.'
> Don't forget to practice self-control.

Self-control goes just so far.  Self discipline, which is arguably a form
of self love, coupled with self-understanding, is better.  There was a
voluntary simplicity movement a few years ago.  It got buried under a
mountain of debt to buy more.  I haven't heard much about it lately.  I
wonder if less is more will ever come back?  

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