I’ve discovered a growing pet peeve. It never used to bother me, then it bothered me a little. Now it bugs the daylights out of me.
Using Lenten feast days as an excuse to eat meat on Fridays.
First it was St. Patrick’s Day, and certain bishops wanted to make sure that the faithful could indulge in green beer and corned beef even if March 17th fell on Friday as it did it 2006 and 2000. Now as much as I love St. Patrick, his feast is a minor feast day, so this is really pushing it.
But March 19th is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. Next year it is on a Friday. My Catholic homeschool group wants to do a father-son meal on this day, and many of the women felt that serving meat was fine since it was his feast day.
“We are required to celebrate solemnities,” pointed out one woman.
“But we aren’t required to eat meat, “ said I. She agreed, but she and many others thought that meat could still be an option, for example, if the dinner was spaghetti with meatballs, you could decline the meatballs if you were one of those holy-than-thou people who thought that eating meat on Friday during Lent was wrong.
Now, I don’t eat meat on Fridays as a general rule – even outside of Lent, and I’m willing to accept that others may choose different sacrifices outside of Lent. But it annoys me when Catholics socialize as Catholics on Fridays (as my homeschool group does once a month) and nobody encourages going meatless. We do a potluck, and my dish will be the only meatless dish. If we are all supposed to be doing some sort of sacrifice on Friday, wouldn’t it just be easier if we did the same one? If the Jones Family offers up cheese, they may have trouble finding a dish. And if the Smiths offer up sweets, then there will be a whole table of temptations. And if the saintly Reitemeyers give up meat, then they have to feed themselves or go hungry.
There’s not much point going to a potluck if you can’t eat anything served.
OK, so this part of my pet peeve is, obviously, growing, too. But sticking with the main part – eating meat on Fridays during Lent – I want to know how the rest of the Catholic world thinks (or at least the small fraction that comes here to visit). The Solemnity of St. Joseph is only seven months away. What do you plan to do? Do you think eating meat on his feast day is acceptable (assuming the Bishops give permission)? Do you think the requirement to “celebrate” necessitates the eating of meat or the eating of sweets?
And, since I obviously disagree with you if you do, I really want to hear some justifications as to why “Catholic-lite: the smooth, easy road to Heaven” is a good idea. Do you think this trend of minimal discomforts has made us a stronger church or better people? Do you think that voluntarily suffering is useless? Or are you just not interested in being challenged? What’s your problem, huh?