Author Topic: Discuss Lent's Fasting Issues  (Read 1368 times)

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Offline Dulcamara

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Discuss Lent's Fasting Issues
« on: February 02, 2010, 05:24:32 PM »
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  • Well, lent is virtually upon us once more, and now comes the head-scratching...

    For those who do believe that the Church has the power to change the fasting laws (as they do not pertain to dogma or anything like that), or for those who don't, discuss fasting questions/issues, and other lent-related eating topics.


    I would like to start off with this question to anyone who does believe that the Church had the authority to change the fasting laws...

    I'm a bit fuzzy on what exactly WAS changed! I was under the impression that before, you had to have a bishop's permission to be dispensed from fasting or abstinence, but even if that was true BEFORE, how does it work now? Did the change essentially just make it so that rather than needing a dispensation, you are now free to do something else instead?

    I hate to even ask this kind of question, but... I am one of those unfortunate people who can only go so long without eating something, before I get a really, really bad headache, and get faint and shaky, so... I'm asking this more for health reasons rather than just (stupidly) "wanting to get out of it". I always try to do my best to adhere to the traditional way... fast and abstain at least partially on all of the days of lent... but there are days when I find myself in a situation where I get really faint or sick-feeling, and I keep wondering if it's okay to just 'arbitrarily' do something else, even with the new rules.

    So if anyone could answer that, or clear up what the new rules DID actually change, that would be great.


    PS, I'm not looking for an argument about whether or not the new rules are to be obeyed. I just want to know the answer based upon the assumption that they can be.
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    Offline Elizabeth

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    Discuss Lent's Fasting Issues
    « Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 06:53:32 PM »
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  • The three hour fast from eating before receiving Holy Communion, also from alcoholic beverages was changed to one hour.  That basically eliminates any fasting before Communion.

    The substitution of fasting from meat every Friday with some "other penance" and changing it to fasting only during Lent.  That is, where fasting is even encouraged.

    People with legitimate health issues or age issues are also allowed leeway with regard to fasting from food, but some other mortification should be substituted.

    If you get faint and shaky unless you eat more than every 4 hours, maybe a visit to the doctor's for some bloodwork would explain the problem.

    Offline Matthew

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    Discuss Lent's Fasting Issues
    « Reply #2 on: February 03, 2010, 03:17:48 PM »
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  • Fasting and abstaining are the foundation of the mortification that every Catholic must have to save his soul.

    The only question is, how much and how often.

    We must keep our love of food (=love of pleasure) in check, or it WILL get out of control -- it will control you. On a practical level, when it comes to actually achieving this, some people have to work harder at it than others.

    No one should completely excuse themselves from mortification -- even a sick person in a hospital bed can forego a piece of candy, eat deliberately slower, sprinkle something harmless that makes the food taste less pleasant (or forego seasonings), etc.

    The taste of food has nothing to do with being healthy -- in fact, many healthy foods aren't as tasty as McDonald's french fries (which a lot of people seem to like -- I avoid them myself), and many "tasty" foods are positively horrible for you. So much for that excuse.

    As you can see, being sickly or of poor health shouldn't excuse one from denying himself.

    The old rules for fasting and abstinence provided most Catholics a good minimum to maintain a decent level of mortification. The post-Vatican II Church did away with virtually all fasting and abstinence. This does not meet the needs of a fallen human nature struggling against original sin. What must we do?

    We have to choose some mortifications -- why not start with the Church's old pre-Vatican II rules? Giving up meat on Friday, etc. won't kill a person.

    With regard to the specifics, you need to tailor your penances to what your body can handle. For one thing, many foods are so denatured these days that you "crash" a couple hours after eating them. I've learned what those are (potato chips, virtually all cold cereal -- even the healthy ones, sugary foods, etc.) and avoid them completely on fast days. The old Church fasting rules even stated that you should eat enough food to "maintain your strength" -- not feel like you can jump over a fence, but I would interpret that as "don't feel weak and shaky -- don't incapacitate yourself". Drinking fluids between meals is allowed -- if you need to, you might even resort to drinking milk. Better that than to skip fasting altogether.

    Many saints have spoken about excessive fasting. Nevertheless, I don't think most people have to worry about that today! Quite the contrary.

    I know the Church used to have dispensations for those doing hard manual labor, etc.

    In short, the Church just wanted us to control our sensual appetites and put to death the Old Man spoken of by St. Paul -- not kill ourselves or render ourselves unfit to do our duties.

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    Offline Jacafamala

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    Discuss Lent's Fasting Issues
    « Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 02:53:38 PM »
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  • I'd like to give up sweets and wine, except for on Sundays. And cut coffee way back, maybe two cups a day--which is hard for me, I really love my coffee. Usually go for like 4 cups black everyday (half decaf, have regular) . Knock off any snacking, too.
    Loving mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, Yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel's joyful greeti


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