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Mortification nullification July 26, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, Basics, catachesis, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, manhood, North Deanery, scandals, secularism, Society.

Pope Paul VI reduced the Eucharistic fast – that abstinence from food and most drink prior to reception of the Blessed Sacrament – from three hours to one.  Prior to that, Venerable Pope Pius XII had reduced the fast from midnight until after the reception of the Blessed Sacrament, to three hours. So, over the course of a mer 15 years or so, the great tradition of the Eucharistic fast had been reduced from what was, at times, aMessa-tridentina-Napoli-01 rather arduous fast, to one that was so trifling as to be almost inconsequential. If one takes into account the fact that Catholics should strive to arrive at Mass at least 15 minutes early (if not more), to pray and recollect themselves for the awesome Gift they are to receive, driving time, and then the portions of Mass prior to reception, Pope Paul, in effect, abolished the Eucharistic fast. Short of sneaking food into Church to eat, there is almost no way to break or violate the fast.

Retired Bishop Rene Gracida has a post up discussing this lamentable state of affairs, and his own plan to return to at least a 3 hour fast.  Noted canonist Ed Peters also has an effort underway to restore the 3 hour fast. I say, brav-o, let us at least get back to a 3 hour fast.  Most days, when I assist at Mass either in the morning or even up until early afternoon, I fast from the night before.  But when I assist at Mass in the evening, I do try to observe at least a 3 hour fast.  The great St. Padre Pio used, as crucifixion-cano.jpgone of his more severe forms of penance, to require those in grave sin to assist at Mass and observe the midnight fast, but he would make them go to the latest Mass possible, to make them fast longer.

Mortification is not about punishment.  It is not even primarily about denial, although that is often part of mortification. Mortification is really about strengthening – making us spiritually, even physically stronger. But since the abolishment of Friday abstinence in this country (even though the faithful are to keep up some kind of Friday penance, how many do?), and the great elimination/reduction overall of penitential seasons, fasting Vigil days, Lenten fasts, Septuagesima, etc., most Catholics today have no conception whatsoever that fasting and other forms of mortification are absolutely vital to their spiritual lives.  How many priests ever even bring these subjects up?  I can tell you, in my experience, not many.

And so we see great scandals, such as that pointed out by commenter ‘Steve’ this week, of parishes having great parties on a Friday.  Steve posted the following:

I felt sad for Holy Mother Church when I read that this Friday at said parish is “Steaks and Games” night.

The Men’s Club at Saint Paul The Apostle has invited “all men of the parish” to bring steaks to the parish to be grilled.

Following the steak dinner, the men will then play poker.

I confirmed that this event is indeed being held on Friday, August 23.  Even with the abolition of Friday abstinence, this event is utterly tone deaf.  We hear so much of the “new evangelization” – is cooking steak on Friday and then gambling part of that?  Sheesh.  Are we Catholic, or not?!

Who cares what the USCCB says, I say, all Catholics should abstain from meat on Fridays!  Hundreds of  years ago, periods of fast and abstinence were much, much more severe than that.  The Eastern Orthodox also fast a great deal more than modern Catholics. The Orthodox have also, it seems, maintained a much, much greater appreciation for the Blessed Sacrament than have Catholics.

But that’s where we’re at as a Church right now.  Instead of men leading the charge to improve the practice of the Faith, including such essential aspects as mortification of  body and spirit, they now feast on steaks and then engage in highly problematic – to say the least – gambling on the weekday commemorating our Lord’s Passion.  I pray Dr. Peters is successful in his effort to have at least a modest 3 hour Eucharistic fast re-instated.  And I pray all of us will take our duties to mortify ourselves much more seriously.  We either get to do it here, where it’s easy, or in Purgatory, where it will be very, very hard.

Purgatory Mass



1. Catholic4Life - July 27, 2013

Reblogged this on Catholic4Life.

2. KathiBee - July 27, 2013

At the previous parish we attended here in the Dallas Diocese, they had their annual parish dinner/silent auction gala during Lent. I remember wondering how odd that was that the Church is trying to instill in us a sense of denial during this time, and our parish was choosing instead to indulge us w/ stimulation of the senses. Though maybe the thought was to help direct Lenten “almsgiving” ?

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