Thursday, March 02, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Dispensations Redux

Last week, I blogged about some of the dioceses, including my own Toledo Diocese, that have made some allowance for St. Patrick's Day revelry, given that this year the feast day falls on a Friday of Lent.

I noted in that post that Bishop Blair of Toledo, rather than grant a dispensation of the Friday obligation, instead moved the obligation to Thursday, March 16. Here is the instruction from the diocese concerning the celebration of St. Patrick's Day:
“When the Memorial of St. Patrick falls on a Friday of Lent, commonly there is a question about a diocesanwide dispensation from the obligation to abstain from meat on that day. This year, those who wish to include the eating of meat in their celebration of the Apostle of Ireland may transfer the obligation to Thursday, March 16, 2006.”
I want to re-open the question I asked last week: are any other dioceses doing what Toledo is doing (i.e. moving the obligation rather than dispensing with it) for St. Patrick's Day?


The tally:
Arlington, VA - Not dispensing with obligation, but allowing it to be met on any other day between March 13-18
Boston, MA - Dispensing with obligation altogether
Buffalo, NY - Dispensing with obligation altogether
Chicago, IL - Dispensing with obligation, but those choosing to make use of the
general dispensation are asked to substitute another form of penance

Cincinnati, OH - Dispensing with obligation, but encouraging "some other act of penance instead"
Cleveland, OH - Dispensing with obligation altogether
Erie, PA - Not dispensing with obligation, but moving it to Thursday, March 16
Lansing, MI - Not dispensing with obligation, but allowing it to be met on any other day between March 13-18
Lincoln, NE - Dispensing with obligation, while stipulating that "those who make use of such an indult should substitute five decades of the rosary instead of observing the abstinence"
Sioux City, IA - No dispensation granted
Toledo, OH - Not dispensing with obligation, but moving it to Thursday, March 16

Others?

UPDATE (3 March 2006):
Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia is also keeping score (hat tip: Vatican Watcher).

6 Comments:

At 3/02/2006 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Arlington, Bishop Loverde dispensed folks from abstaining on March 17 so long as they chose another day during that week (March 13-18) to abstain.

So, similar to Toledo but with a little more flexibility.

 
At 3/02/2006 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having reviewed the previous post, let me follow up by noting that Bishop Loverde's language is obligatory, not a recommendation.

A person is dispensed "as long as" they choose another day.

 
At 3/02/2006 3:52 PM, Anonymous Tony said...

What a great idea!

 
At 3/04/2006 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a lost soul in a sense. I'm raised a catholic in the teachings of the Jesuits. But along the way may have lost my way and trying to find a way back.
I'm still trying to understand the meaning behind the absolution of eating meat on Fridays, especially when this so-called sacrifice can be dispensed of when St. Patrick's day lands on the same date.
And then I read up on how it's not even uniform throughout the whole faith but instead varies. Decided by the Bishop of the region.
Can someone enlighten me on this subject.
Thanks

 
At 3/07/2006 2:31 PM, Blogger The Peter Files Blog of Comedy said...

I will give it a try. A real theologian can do better I am sure.

The idea of Lenten sacrifices was originally to prepare the soul and mind for Easter by cleansing the body and mind of earthly concerns and sins.

Things like fasting, giving up meat, other practices, were all designed to remind Catholics of the sacrifice of our Lord, the time spent in the 40 days in the desert where he was deprived of food and water and tempted by Satan and did not submit.

By fasting, for example, or forgoing one of our staple foods, meat, we recall Jesus' greater sacrifice to us which is ultimately played out on Good Friday where Jesus allows himself to be crucified for our sins, dies and is resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Originally, that is once Lenten practices began, the period of fasting may have been more strict and may have lasted the whole of lent except perhaps for Saturdays. I am foggy on this. The Catholic Encyclopedia may share insights on this.

From this point of view, whether fasting and giving up meat on Thursday or Friday is moot, except for Good Friday, which is probably never on St. Patrick's day, the day being just early enough to avoid this.

Easter as you may know, varies in date because it is defined by its definition, which I also forget but can be found I am sure in Wikipedia.

The second part of the question is how different bishops can have different practices around the country.

That has to do with the organization of the Catholic Church around the world. There are many misunderstandings about that. Many people feel that the Pope is the head of a mindless army of clerics when nothing is further from the truth. At each step, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop (All Cardinals are usually bishops or Archbishops but need not be technically, I believe to be appointed Cardinal), Auxilary Bishop, Pastor, there is a reponsibility for the Spiritual well-being of the community of Catholics in its domain be it an Archdiocese (Archbishop), Diocese (Bishop), Parish(Pastor) and of course they are all Priests, though there are circumstances where non-priests can have administrative control of a Parish without the ability to administer sacraments unless one is a Permanent Deacon, and then some Sacraments are still reserved such as consecration of the Eucharist.

Within a larger area such a nation such as America, there is often a council of Bishops which can make statements binding on all of the American Churches - to a limit, this is called The American Council of Catholic Bishops. For example they issued an important statement/letter/finding on Nuclear war and are trying to find a way to eliminate the presence of sexual abuse among priests. (Which statistically appears to be no greater than the general population but garners headlines for obvious reasons and is still quite disturbing.)

Within the framework of Canon Law, estabilished by the Vatican Court of Canon Law, The Pope's Encyclycals, The Findings of the American Council of Catholic Bishops, American Bishops have enormous lattitude within their dioceses or Archdiocese. (The difference between the two being largely a matter of population and size and whether Auxilary Bishops are needed to handle the number of jobs that Bishops must attend to beyond administrative work, such as Confirmations, work with Parishes in trouble, etc. Archbishop does not equal Cardial but a person who becomes an Archbishop, once given that responsibility has a fairly good chance of being named a Cardinal eventually.)

This power of local bishops has been necessary since the beginning of the ancient church because it was impossible in the days of horse and mule or foot communication for a bishop to get advice from Rome on all but the most urgent matters, so over time clarity about what was and was not within the the Bishop's discretion to decide became standardized in the code of canon law which can still be subject to special circumstances in the judgement of the local bishop.

Some things are left to National Councils such as Holy Days of Obligation. While the number of Days may be the about the same in the U.S., Ireland, and Brazil and Kenya, the actual Holy days obzerved may vary for a variety of reasons with the exceptions of a few basic ones.

This is also important because of enormous differences in culture and practices around the world.

In the U.S. there are very specific problems right now. It is likely that the moral crises in Africa, given the A.I.D.S. epidemic there are very different.

For the same reason, Roman Catholic Pastors have a great deal of flexibility in their parishes when dealing with the spiritual needs of their congragation.

One pastor (going too far) used to say he had two rules of liturgy.

1) No Human Sacrifices
2) Don't call the Chancery Office
(the Bishop's Office to complain or ask permission.)

This was mostly a joke, but this particular pastor of a University Parish in the 70's knew where he was and when and so allowed some experimentation within the rules. More than the Bishop would have liked, but not enough to go beyond the teachings of Jesus and the Catholic Church.

The fact that no one else was doing liturgical dance at the time, did not mean it was forbidden. It had been done in the early church and no rules against it were in existence...

The point is where you have something where person's faith is in crisis and small concessions may be made, within limits, even the Parish Priest has a great deal of influence.

So, in this context, where we may have 70%-90% (not fact checked) of the Permanent Decons in the world and at one point Chicago had 80%-95% of them in the United States, the matter of whether you give up fasting and eating meat on Thursday of Friday is a very small thing indeed, when the whole point is to make a sacrifice, to become one with the universal Catholic Church, remember and contemplate the coming and meaning of Easter and its promise of salvation, and remember that while Jesus was the son of God, he also walked the earth like you and me, feeling pain, and suffering, empty stomachs and tired feet just as you and me, so that when he was crucified on Calvary the sacrifice he gave was one of real pain, of real suffering, one of meaning, one of love for the countless millions that would come after him.

One has to wonder whether we should be ashamed about worrying about making a slight reduction in our celebration plans just because St. Patrick's day falls on Friday.

Can't eat fish and still have a good time?

Besides, the big parade in Chicago, is the South Side Irish Parade, and that's on SUNDAY!

I have yet to write my post about it.


If you come to my blog and do a search in the google box on Parade or Irish, you should find some interesting links, or Pope as that will take you to the New Pope site that includes links to the Vatican that should be useful.

I hope that some of this is helpful.

Again, this is just the best of my own knowledge and could be faulty.

There is no imprimatur or nihil obstat (nothing objectionable) on this post!

Peter, The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary

Not a normal source for theological information.

Http://ThePeterFiles.Blogspot.com

 
At 3/07/2006 4:35 PM, Blogger The Peter Files Blog of Comedy said...

I will give it a try. A real theologian can do better I am sure.

The idea of Lenten sacrifices was originally to prepare the soul and mind for Easter by cleansing the body and mind of earthly concerns and sins.

Things like fasting, giving up meat, other practices, were all designed to remind Catholics of the sacrifice of our Lord, the time spent in the 40 days in the desert where he was deprived of food and water and tempted by Satan and did not submit.

By fasting, for example, or forgoing one of our staple foods, meat, we recall Jesus' greater sacrifice to us which is ultimately played out on Good Friday where Jesus allows himself to be crucified for our sins, dies and is resurrected on Easter Sunday.

Originally, that is once Lenten practices began, the period of fasting may have been more strict and may have lasted the whole of lent except perhaps for Saturdays. I am foggy on this. The Catholic Encyclopedia may share insights on this.

From this point of view, whether fasting and giving up meat on Thursday or Friday is moot, except for Good Friday, which is probably never on St. Patrick's day, the day being just early enough to avoid this.

Easter as you may know, varies in date because it is defined by its definition, which I also forget but can be found I am sure in Wikipedia.

The second part of the question is how different bishops can have different practices around the country.

That has to do with the organization of the Catholic Church around the world. There are many misunderstandings about that. Many people feel that the Pope is the head of a mindless army of clerics when nothing is further from the truth. At each step, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop (All Cardinals are usually bishops or Archbishops but need not be technically, I believe to be appointed Cardinal), Auxilary Bishop, Pastor, there is a reponsibility for the Spiritual well-being of the community of Catholics in its domain be it an Archdiocese (Archbishop), Diocese (Bishop), Parish(Pastor) and of course they are all Priests, though there are circumstances where non-priests can have administrative control of a Parish without the ability to administer sacraments unless one is a Permanent Deacon, and then some Sacraments are still reserved such as consecration of the Eucharist.

Within a larger area such a nation such as America, there is often a council of Bishops which can make statements binding on all of the American Churches - to a limit, this is called The American Council of Catholic Bishops. For example they issued an important statement/letter/finding on Nuclear war and are trying to find a way to eliminate the presence of sexual abuse among priests. (Which statistically appears to be no greater than the general population but garners headlines for obvious reasons and is still quite disturbing.)

Within the framework of Canon Law, estabilished by the Vatican Court of Canon Law, The Pope's Encyclycals, The Findings of the American Council of Catholic Bishops, American Bishops have enormous lattitude within their dioceses or Archdiocese. (The difference between the two being largely a matter of population and size and whether Auxilary Bishops are needed to handle the number of jobs that Bishops must attend to beyond administrative work, such as Confirmations, work with Parishes in trouble, etc. Archbishop does not equal Cardial but a person who becomes an Archbishop, once given that responsibility has a fairly good chance of being named a Cardinal eventually.)

This power of local bishops has been necessary since the beginning of the ancient church because it was impossible in the days of horse and mule or foot communication for a bishop to get advice from Rome on all but the most urgent matters, so over time clarity about what was and was not within the the Bishop's discretion to decide became standardized in the code of canon law which can still be subject to special circumstances in the judgement of the local bishop.

Some things are left to National Councils such as Holy Days of Obligation. While the number of Days may be the about the same in the U.S., Ireland, and Brazil and Kenya, the actual Holy days obzerved may vary for a variety of reasons with the exceptions of a few basic ones.

This is also important because of enormous differences in culture and practices around the world.

In the U.S. there are very specific problems right now. It is likely that the moral crises in Africa, given the A.I.D.S. epidemic there are very different.

For the same reason, Roman Catholic Pastors have a great deal of flexibility in their parishes when dealing with the spiritual needs of their congragation.

One pastor (going too far) used to say he had two rules of liturgy.

1) No Human Sacrifices
2) Don't call the Chancery Office
(the Bishop's Office to complain or ask permission.)

This was mostly a joke, but this particular pastor of a University Parish in the 70's knew where he was and when and so allowed some experimentation within the rules. More than the Bishop would have liked, but not enough to go beyond the teachings of Jesus and the Catholic Church.

The fact that no one else was doing liturgical dance at the time, did not mean it was forbidden. It had been done in the early church and no rules against it were in existence...

The point is where you have something where person's faith is in crisis and small concessions may be made, within limits, even the Parish Priest has a great deal of influence.

So, in this context, where we may have 70%-90% (not fact checked) of the Permanent Decons in the world and at one point Chicago had 80%-95% of them in the United States, the matter of whether you give up fasting and eating meat on Thursday of Friday is a very small thing indeed, when the whole point is to make a sacrifice, to become one with the universal Catholic Church, remember and contemplate the coming and meaning of Easter and its promise of salvation, and remember that while Jesus was the son of God, he also walked the earth like you and me, feeling pain, and suffering, empty stomachs and tired feet just as you and me, so that when he was crucified on Calvary the sacrifice he gave was one of real pain, of real suffering, one of meaning, one of love for the countless millions that would come after him.

One has to wonder whether we should be ashamed about worrying about making a slight reduction in our celebration plans just because St. Patrick's day falls on Friday.

Can't eat fish and still have a good time?

Besides, the big parade in Chicago, is the South Side Irish Parade, and that's on SUNDAY!

I have yet to write my post about it.


If you come to my blog and do a search in the google box on Parade or Irish, you should find some interesting links, or Pope as that will take you to the New Pope site that includes links to the Vatican that should be useful.

I hope that some of this is helpful.

Again, this is just the best of my own knowledge and could be faulty.

There is no imprimatur or nihil obstat (nothing objectionable) on this post!

Peter, The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Satire and Commentary

Not a normal source for theological information.

Http://ThePeterFiles.Blogspot.com

 

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