Today in History

Dear Editor,

In your November 18th article Today in History it stated: “In 1966, U.S. Roman Catholic bishops issued a Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, which did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.” To clarify this, here is a quote from that Pastoral Statement:

23. “Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year… by making of every Friday a day of self-denial and mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Christ.”

24. “Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formally we did in obedience to Church law.”

National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 18, 1966

In other words, we must do penance on all Fridays but have some freedom as to what form of penance we wish to do to express to Christ our love and gratitude.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Jaynes,