Thursday, December 29, 2022
Abstinence Is Obligatory on Friday in the Octave of Christmas

As Catholics, we are still bound to abstain from meat each Friday of the entire year, not just in Lent. This is required during the season of Christmas - even on Friday in the Octave of Christmas.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law stipulated that the requirement to abstain from meat (i.e., Friday penance) was required each and every Friday of the year unless that particular Friday was a Holy Day of Obligation:

 "On [Sundays] or feasts of precept, the law of abstinence or of abstinence and fast or of fast only ceases, except during Lent, nor is the vigil anticipated; likewise it ceases on Holy [Saturday] afternoon" (1917 Code, Canon 1252 § 4). [Translation taken from THE 1917 OR PIO-BENEDICTINE CODE OF CANON LAW in English Translation by Dr. Edward Peters]

Friday in the Octave of Christmas is not a feast of precept (i.e., a Holy Day of Obligation), nor is any Friday in the Christmas Season. The 1917 Code of Canon Law outlined the rules of fasting and abstinence in Canons 1250-1254.

The 1983 Code and the myriad of weakening dispensations offered between 1917 and the present have led to a continual decline in penance and devotion. Due to the errors and ambiguities in the 1983 Code, it must be rejected, and the older Code must be used. One of these errors is the unprecedented novelty of solemnities like Easter Friday breaking the immemorial tradition of Friday abstinence. Yet even in the modernized 1983 Code, Friday in the Octave of Christmas is not a "Solemnity," and even by the 1983 standards, is thus still a required day of abstinence from meat.

Let us not be so keen to forget our Lord's sacrifice on the Cross. Pray and do penance on this and all Fridays.

Want to learn more about the history of fasting and abstinence? Check out the Definitive Guide to Catholic Fasting and Abstinence.

1 comment(s):

del_button December 30, 2022 at 11:03 AM
Anonymous said...

Thank you for clarifying. Kids were asking!

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