Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fasting/Abstaining from meat...a rant

Fasting and Abstinence is one of the most under-utilitized tool of the spirital life. Roman Catholics were infamous for their 'rules' about not eating meat on any friday of the year. After Vatican II each individual national bishop's conference was given the authority to ease up on the discipline, restricting it to Lent only. Of course, the American RC Church, in its zeal to be hip and relevant, tossed off the requirement. The result? Most RC's don't even practice it in Lent either unless they have a pastor who is vigilant in teaching it. So having cut back from 52 fridays to abstain from meat to 7, the discipline is so watered down that today I read this in the newspaper.....

Cardinal Adam Maida has advised Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit that they may eat meat on Friday, March 17 -- St. Patrick's Day -- with his blessing and permission to deviate from church tradition and practice. However, the cardinal reminded Catholics of the importance of performing acts of penance, especially during Lent, including prayer, fasting and the giving of alms.

So, RC's can't wait until Saturday to eat Corned Beef? Perhaps their faithfulness and a desire for holiness can't take precidence over the secularization of a HOLY DAY for St. Patrick. Would Patrick be happy to see the church discipline bent for a day of drunken debaucery (the inability to abstain from Meat, as well as over-indulgence in drink are both sins of gluttony, FYI). Wouldn't it be great of everyone who thought of St. Patrick on March 17th, instead of going to the pub to drink themselves stupid would go the Church that day to pray for the conversion of unbelievers and themselves before lifting a glass of beer (assuming they haven't already earned a seat with us friends of Bill W.)?

Okay...rant over. PS - the Episcopal Prayer Book discipline assumes all Friday's of the year to be days of special sacrifice...ie...not eating meat. Most of ECUSA has adopted the more RC discipine if it has kept it at all.