Liturgy Corner

Carmel Parish Bulletin articles from the Liturgy Committee

26/2/11 – Fasting and Abstinence

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This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday, and the beginning of the season of Lent.  Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence.  In the past, rules about fasting and abstinence in the Church were clear and very well known.  Nowadays they are often not as well known as they used to be.  Are we required to fast?  Who should fast and when?  The following statements are from the Church’s Code of Canon Law, and are the key point of reference on the matter.

The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Fish Market, © FreeFoto.comAbstinence 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.

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.

The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

Code of Canon Law, 1250-1253

Photo credit: FreeFoto.com

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