Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Annual Lent Fight

March 8th, 2011, Promulgated by b a

Ever get into a friendly argument on specifics about Lent? Jimmy Akin has been sorting this stuff out for years. Go on over to this post containing a plethora of links to answer all of your Lenten questions.

For some years here on the blog, I have hosted a collection of posts on this subject. Together, they are known as the Annual Lent Fight–because many of these questions have been disputed (at times harshly).

This is because there are a lot of popular ideas (read: legends) out there about Lent, often based on attempts to summarize the Church’s law in a popular manner that ends up slightly misstating it.

If you want a careful reading of what the Church’s documents actually saw, check out the material in the Annual Lent Fight.

Is Lent really 40 days long–or is that a traditional and biblically resonant number that is attached to the days of Lent, though current documents indicate a different literal period of time?

How much food can be eaten on days of abstinence? Do you have to measure the size of the “two smaller meals” you often hear about to make sure they don’t add up to a full meal? And how would you measure that anyway? Calories? Volume? Mass? Something else?

Do caloric beverages count toward this total?

What can be eaten on days of abstinence? Do you have to avoid animal fat? Why don’t eggs and fish count as meat? Is it true that the pope was trying to protect the Italian fishing industry by allowing fish? What about eating mammals like capybaras?

Do you have to give something up for Lent? And if you do, can you have it on Sundays?

Of course, keeping the spirit of Lent means going beyond what the letter of the law mandates. A minimalistic observation of Lent focused on the least one can get away with is contrary to the orientation toward spiritual growth that the season is meant to provide.

But that’s no excuse for getting the law wrong–or for failing to grapple with the questions people have about it.

And so, let the Annual Lent Fight begin!


2 Responses to “Annual Lent Fight”

  1. Scott W. says:

    I usually post around this time about helping stamp out the practice of emptying holy water fonts for all of Lent. I didn’t do it this time, because when I ask on popular Catholic forums, I really don’t hear much of this going on anymore. Perhpas more evidence of the thaw.

  2. Scott W. says:

    Pardon that terrible sentence structure.

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