Thursday, March 8, 2018

Age-Old Lenten Fast: One Meal a Day and Total Abstinence

Msgr. Doane Park, Newark, New Jersey

Below are the Lenten regulations from 1873 which include a local dispensation from the universal norm of no meat all of the days of Lent, except Sundays.



Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, will fall on the twenty-sixth day of February.

1. Every day during Lent except Sunday, is a day of fast on one meal, which should no be taken before mid-day, with the allowance of a moderate collation in the evening.

2. The precept of fasting implies also that of abstinence from the use of flesh meat, but by dispensation, the use of flesh meat is allowed in this Diocese at every meal on Sunday, and at the principal meal on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, of Lent except Holy Thursday.

3. There is no prohibition to use eggs, butter or cheese, provided the rules of quantity prescribed by the fast be complied with. Fish is not to be used at the same meals at which flesh meat is allowed. Butter, or if necessary lard, may be used in dressing of fish or vegetables.

4. All persons over seven years of age are bound to abstain from the use of flesh meat, and all over twenty-one to fast according to the above regulations unless there be a legitimate cause of exemption. The Church excuses from the obligations of fasting, but not from that of abstinence from flesh meat, except in special cases of sickness or the like, the following classes of persons: 1st, the infirm; 2nd, those whose duties are of an exhausting or laborious character; 3rd, women in pregnancy, or nursing infants; 4th, those who are enfeebled by old age. In case of doubt in regard to any of the above exemptions, recourse must be had to one’s spiritual director, or physician.

Bayley Arms
All alike, should enter into the spirit of this holy season, which is, in a special manner, a time of prayer, and sorrow for sin, of almsgiving, and mortification.

The faithful are reminded that by a special privilege granted by the Holy See to the faithful of this Diocese, a Plenary Indulgence may be gained on the usual conditions, on St. Patrick’s Day or any day, within the Octave.

By order of the Very Reverend Administrator,

GEORGE H. DOANE. Secretary.
Bishop’s House, Newark, Feb. 6., A.D. 1873.
(The diocese was sede vacante after its first Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley [nephew of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton] was appointed as Archbishop of Baltimore in 1872.)

Source: Alan Bernard DeLozier, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, Charleston: Arcadia, 2011, 27.

P.S. Plinthos offers these rules as a guide for all those who want to follow the "strong recommendation" of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops for all the weekdays of Lent of "a self-imposed observance of fasting." "For all...weekdays of Lent, we strongly recommend a self-imposed observance of fasting." A similar recommendation is made regarding Ember Days, that, though the fast and abstinence thereof is no longer required it is still urged by the bishops to be freely undertaken. What better way to carry out the divine law to do penance than by choosing to do it the way our forefathers did.

The Traditional Lenten Fast

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