The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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March 17, 2000 Issue
Local News

The Lent of the Irish: corned beef or not corned beef?

Lent Fridays are days to abstain

By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor

It's Lent, which means Catholics who have reached the age of 14 are to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent. This is the law of the church and one of the minimal penitential requirements placed upon Catholic during Lent.

This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Lenten Friday. This means that the traditional corned beef dinner should generally be put on hold until Saturday. And, in fact, many local restuarants have spread their usual one-day Irish feast over the entire upcoming weekend.

Some people have asked if there will be a general dispensation from the rule for March 17 this year. The Dioceses of Madison and Superior have issued such a dispensation. The Diocese of La Crosse has not. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has left the decision to local pastors.

The Diocese of Green Bay has not issued a general dispensation.

"At the present time, there is no intention to issue a general dispensation from abstinence for St. Patrick's Day," said Sr. Lisa Lucht, diocesan chancellor.

When this holiday last fell on a Lenten Friday in 1995, local Catholics were reminded that the U.S. Bishops expect them to not lightly excuse themselves from the minimal Lenten penances. This remains the case. If persons have serious questions about individual dispensation, Bp. Banks has said they may contact their pastors.

Pastors in the Green Bay Diocese have the authority to grant individual dispensations, as noted in Canon Law: Can. 1245 states the "without prejudice to the right of diocesan Bishops as in Can. 87, a parish priest, in individual cases, for a just reason and in accordance with the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop, can give a dispensation from the obligation of observing a holyday or day of penance, or commute the obligation into some other pious works."

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