US: Time For Friday Abstinence
The US Bishops have launched a multi-faceted initiative aimed at strengthening Catholic identity in the Country.
One can only look at such initiatives with favour, also because none of them appear to be of the unCatholic/populistic/controversial sort (like for example encouraging illegal immigration). Still, one cannot avoiding noticing that even when it would be easy to demand a certain behaviour (= meatless Friday) the US Bishops stop short of doing it and prefer to remain by the “encouragement”.
Meatless Friday is a traditional Catholic penance; it is nothing earth-shattering, or extravagant; it has been already reintroduced in other Countries, like the United Kingdom.
Past generations well knew that these little but constant reminders not only of Christ's sacrifice for us, but of our Catholic identity and culture do help, in time, to properly shape a man. Past generations, who did not have fridges or freezers, were asked to conform themselves to such small rules. It is not clear to me why it should be too much to ask that modern US-Americans do the same rather than merely encourage them to do so.
If the clergy of one country thinks even such small obligations are too much to ask, how can they I do not say demand, but even make their faithfuls aware of grave problems like politicians aiding and abetting abortion, sodomy, one day euthanasia? If one refuses to obey in the small things, how will he obey in the bigger ones?
I hope the US bishops will soon see the logic of this reasoning, and start the long work of reshaping Catholic identity by demanding that their faithful live by rules – starting from the small ones – that have served past generations so well.
Bring back the meatless Friday. Remind people every week of what they are, and what they stand for.