Monday, March 20, 2006

Kids and Lenten Regulations

In going through my saved email folder, I found an exchange of emails from Lent 2005 between myself and canon lawyer Pete Vere:


Pete,

I made veggie soup for the kids Friday and they accused me of being a heretic for using chicken broth (they're soooo holier-than-thou ;-)). I explained that broth is made from bone marrow and not meat and that surely God will not send me to h-e-double hockey sticks for using meat broth instead of vegetable broth on a Lenten Friday.

A discussion then ensued on why the meat of a fish is not really meat. I again assured them that we will not face eternal damnation because we enjoyed a little cod on Friday. (Where in the world did these kids come from?) That then lead to a bizarre discussion on exotic meats. If say we lived in Arizona, could we eat snake or lizard on Friday? What about snails? (Really, these aren't my kids . . . they were mixed up with someone else's kids at the hospital!)

Finally, I was quizzed on whether or not Sunday is really part of Lent. After all, our wonderfully holy friends, a family in our homeschool group who wear only dresses, and wear lace head coverings to Mass, feast on Sunday. (I should clarify, the dad and sons don't wear dresses or head coverings.) Surely, our friends know better than me, who dared once to wear blue jeans to weekday Mass! It was even debated as to when Sunday started. Surely, could we have chocolate ice cream after dinner on Saturday since the Sunday vigil Mass starts at 4pm on Saturday?

Life is so interesting at the Wittmann house! Just wait until you have teenagers !

Maureen :)


> then lead to a bizarre discussion on exotic meats. If say we lived in Arizona,
> could we eat snake or lizard on Friday?

Yes. Interestingly enough, this issue came up on radio with Karl Keating and Jerry Usher the last time I happened to be visiting Catholic Answers. As I explained to the caller, abstinence applies to flesh (mammals) and fowl, but not to fish, amphibians, reptiles, insects, or other invertebrates.

> What about snails?

Insects.

> Finally, I was quizzed on whether or not Sunday is really part of Lent.

No. This is easy to prove. Count from Ash Wednesday to Easter using the full week, then do it again excluding Sundays.

> It was even debated as to when Sunday started. Surely, could we
> have chocolate ice cream after dinner on Saturday since the Sunday vigil Mass
> starts at 4pm on Saturday?

Of course. And due to special indult, 3pm in the Diocese of Venice!

> Life is so interesting at the Wittmann house! Just wait until you have
> teenagers .

LOL!

Pax,
PJV


Pete,
Okay, one more . . . I forgot this one -- If Lenten abstinence begins Saturday at 4, does it end at 4 on Sunday. Therefore, shouldn't we have our dessert before dinner on Sunday in order to save our souls from tarnishment? There's gotta be a way to squeeze cake and ice cream in twice! Kids are soooo legalistic!
Maureen :)


> Okay, one more . . . I forgot this one -- If Lenten abstinence begins
> Saturday at 4, does it end at 4 on Sunday.

No. It's called canonical magic. It begins Saturday at 4pm and ends Sunday at midnight.

Pax,
PJV

8 comments:

Maureen in IL said...

Hysterically laughing!

Linda B. said...

Thanks Maureen. We thought that it was from 6:00 p.m. Sat. until 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

Akron1977 said...

Sounds like our house! I can't wait to tell the kids they are free to indulge in all the reptile and insect "meat" they want---but I think I'll leave the midnight Sunday news to myself!

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I guess that means that ostrich, buffalo and kangaroo are out on Friday. But we could have eel or shark. Interesting.

Karen E. said...

Thanks, Maureen -- my kids were, um, interested to know that they could indulge in rattlesnake on a Friday. :-) Not delighted, exactly, but interested .... Seriously I love canon law. It's so fun to dig into it.

Maureen Wittmann said...

If you love canon law, you've got to get Pete's book, Surprised by Canon Law. It's a nice introduction and you could give it to a teen too. I got my library to buy it!

Erik Keilholtz said...

Pete seems to be a good guy and a good canon lawyer, but he is a lousy biologist. If a snail is an insect, rather than a gastropod (mollusca), then I will eat a grasshopper, which is indeed an insect.

Anonymous said...

As for whether Sundays are part of Lent, my answer would be: "Yes, they are during the Lenten Season, as defined by the liturgical law of the Church, and even called 'The First Sunday of Lent', etc."

But I would also add, "While the Sundays of Lent are still penitential in character (notice the absence of the Gloria & 'Alleluia' at Mass, the darker liturgical color?, etc.), but in a different way than the other days of the week (i.e. Catholics don't generally fast or abstain on the Sundays), because Sunday is the Lord's day."

For more details, I'd recommend question 4 on the following web page:

http://www.cuf.org/news/newsdetail.asp?newID=30

I agree that the origin of the 40 days is based on counting the days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, excluding Sundays. But that answers a slightly different question: "Do the Sundays count as part of the 40 days?" But this way of calculating the length of Lent is a bit obsolete, as we now have another season added in that didn't figure into the 40 days calculation of old: the Triduum...

Fr. Terry Donahue, CC

(An old friend of Pete's who doesn't have a Blogger account to sign in with yet...)