Are you eating meat today? Well, YOU CAN! We are still within the Octave of Christmas, and each day is treated as a feast day - and speaking of feast days - today is also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (or by the traditional calendar, the Circumcision of Christ) so either way, there is no fasting or penance. For more info - click here!
So, today is another, as I like to refer to it as, "Cheeseburger Friday!"
Abstinence from Meat on Every Friday Throughout the Year
On my pulpit again... While it doesn't HAVE to be meat that we abstain from on ALL Fridays, it still HAS to be something equivalent. For some cultures fish is more of a staple than other forms of meat, so to give up meat for them is no real penance - and while fish is an acceptable alternative, for such a culture - there is no penance at all in eating fish over beef (or pork, or chicken, etc.). Now, while our penance does not HAVE to be from meat anymore, I say WHY NOT MEAT?! Meatless Fridays have LONG been a badge of honor for Catholics - and pretty much something only Catholics did or do, so unless you have a good reason to abstain from something else, then it should still be abstinence from meat that we observe - EVERY FRIDAY... well again, not THIS Friday, due to the solemnity.
1983 Code of Canon Law (currently in force)
Can 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal 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.
Can 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Is It a Mortal Sin to NOT Do Penance on ALL Fridays (except when there is a solemnity on Friday)?
The answer here is quite simple - YES! It is a mortal sin! Now before you read this article you might be able to claim ignorance, and for it to be a mortal sin you have to first KNOW it is a sin and second, do it anyway. To knowingly and willfully reject a precept of Canon Law IS a mortal sin. Well, now that you have read this article - there's no way around this - so for the sake of your own soul, if you have not been observing the Friday penance EVERY Friday, it's not too late to start - and start with meat - but again, not THIS Friday. Enjoy a cheeseburger, or steak, or pork chops, etc. this week, but NEXT week, be sure to observe that which is REQUIRED of ALL Catholics (those over 14 and under 60).