Feb 29, 2004, 5:59 AM
Post #5 of 10
Lenten fasting has changed since the Second Vatican Council in the early 60s, although fasting was never compulsory on ALL the days of Lent. Compulsory fasting prior to Vatican II was on all Wednesdays and Saturdays (then called Ember Days) and Fridays during the 6 weeks of Lent.
Re: [Carol Schmidt] The Cuisine of Cuaresma
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Compulsory fasting today applies only to Ash Wednesday and to Fridays during Lent, including Good Friday. Here are the current rules:
III.1. The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat.
2. The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing as far as quantity and quality are concerned approved local custom.
IV. To the law of abstinence those are bound who have completed their 14th year of age. To the law of fast those of the faithful are bound who have completed their 21st year and up until the beginning of their 60th year...
VI. 1. In accordance with the conciliar decree Christus Dominus regarding the pastoral office of bishops, number 38,4, it is the task of episcopal conferences to:
A. Transfer for just cause the days of penitence, always taking into account the Lenten season;
B. Substitute abstinence and fast wholly or in part with other forms of penitence and especially works of charity and the exercises of piety.42
These laws of fasting and abstinence have since been incorporated into the new Code of Canon Law, issued in February of 1983 (Canons 1249 to 1253.
You can see in Section III.1 that both lard and meat-flavored seasonings are exempt from fasting laws.
In most places in Mexico, printed restaurant menus remain the same during the Lenten season, although where I live some restaurants are closed on fast days if their primary menu item is only meat. For example, a restaurant near me which serves birria only (and another which serves only carne en su jugo) are both closed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
Most restaurants offer Lenten specials on fast days even though the printed menu remains the same. Fish and other seafood dishes abound in all kinds of restaurants; taco stands offer tacos de papa, tacos de nopalitos, and other tacos which are seen primarily during Lent. If you're patronizing restaurants catering primarily to the Spanish-speaking community, you may need to ask (in Spanish) what Lenten specials are being offered on Fridays, rather than simply ordering from the printed menu.
No one polices the observance of Lenten fasting, of course. What is ordered in a restaurant or eaten at home is entirely up to the individual. Most Mexicans who are practicing Catholics do, however, observe the Lenten fasting laws. Some local custom among individuals retains the old traditions and fasting is practiced on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well, but the Church states that this is no longer compulsory.
(This post was edited by esperanza on Feb 29, 2004, 6:02 AM)