“No Meat on Friday Nonsense” Redux

In a previous post I discussed how eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays was allegedly a “mortal”no-meat sin for Catholics prior to 1966. In that year, canon law 1253 was issued, which allowed the bishops of a particular country to decide whether to continue enforcing the abstention of eating meat on non-Lenten Fridays or to “substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.” As we all know, the U.S. bishops opted to discontinue enforcing the abstention of eating meat for substituting other forms of penance.

Getting a headache yet?

The question I had in my previous post was as follows: For the Catholics who did eat meat on non-Lenten Fridays and died prior to 1966, are they still in hell or did the pope give them a Get Out of Jail Free card in 1966? Disappointingly, no Catholic has responded to my question up to this point.

Now for the “redux” part. This morning I was listening to the February 13, 2015 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” radio program with “father” Joe Campbell answering questions from listeners. An email from a listener acknowledged that, as of 1966, it’s no longer a “mortal” sin to eat meat on non-Lenten Fridays but inquired if it was a “mortal” sin to fail to substitute another form of penance or charity as prescribed by canon law? Young “father” Joe was COMPLETELY stumped by the question and referred the writer to their diocesan office.

Oy vey! How is it that Catholic souls are hanging in the balance with questions regarding “mortal” sin and canon law and their church’s long and complicated laundry list of rules and regulations BUT CATHOLIC PRIESTS DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWERS?!?!?

“Father” Mark Gantley, writing for EWTN, suggests it’s NOT a “mortal” sin to fail to substitute another form of penance or charity in place of abstaining from meat on non-Lenten Fridays, that the substitution is “encouraged but not strictly required,” but why should Catholics trust this one fallible priest when the very salvation of their souls depends on the correct answer? Someone call pope Jorge and get the infallible answer!  🙂

Ach! What utter and completely anti-Biblical NONSENSE! Thank the Lord for freeing me from the Catholic chains of man-made traditions and rules. I praise you Lord for Your salvation by Your grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and walk away from this apostate, spiritual train wreck.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12

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6 thoughts on ““No Meat on Friday Nonsense” Redux

  1. Lol I hear you–when I first became Catholic I was freaking out because I couldn’t get answers on this stuff. But I love the reason for giving up meat on Fridays–out of respect for the day when Our Lord hung on the cross. So I started doing it, and I found that far from being a burden, it’s something I enjoy doing out of love. It makes me appreciate the gift of meat all the more on the other days of the week, and it’s also started a lot of interesting conversations with non-believers.

    I think there’s a real danger for Catholics to get caught up in the letter of the law–we have a lot of rules! We have to remember that the key to everything is loving God and our neighbor, and yes, sometimes it’s our Protestant brothers and sisters who remind us of that. 🙂

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    1. Rose Marie, I like your reply! God sent His Son, the Perfect Lamb without spot or blemish, to die on the cross for our sins because we cannot possibly merit our own way to Heaven. Many Catholics have written me saying they have also been saved by God’s grace (baptism) but that they must then “cooperate with grace” and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules as a part of their justification.

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  2. Thank you, Sdcharg! 🙂 On the subject of justification, I always feel that Catholics and Protestants agree more than we realize. No knowledgeable Catholic would suggest that we are *earning* our way to heaven by our good deeds–as you have pointed out, that would be impossible. I also doubt that any sincere Protestant would go around wantonly breaking the Ten Commandments, knowing how much God hates those sins! I think this is one of those cases where words just make the situation more complicated than it really is!

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    1. Rose Marie, I politely disagree with you regarding Evangelicals’ and Catholics’ views on justification. Evangelicals come to God as helpless, depraved sinners with absolutely no plea other than the imputed righteousness of their Savior, Jesus Christ, as like the publican in Luke 18.

      Catholics believe they are initially redeemed at baptism but then must dutifully participate in the sacraments prescribed by the church and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) and church rules so as to present themselves to God in a sinless “state of grace” at the moment of their death. So Catholics believe they can come to God saying, Look, I have “cooperated” with your grace and perfectly obeyed your commandments (and when I failed I confessed my sins in the sacrament of reconciliation) so I have merited a place in your kingdom. One position is “done” while the other position is “do.” Catholics are offended by the Evangelical position claiming it is “easy believism” but a person cannot even begin to attempt to obey God until after they have recognized their standing as a helplessly depraved sinner without one plea and accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior.

      These are NOT similar positions obscured by the theological jargon of the Reformation. There is the position of the utterly depraved publican without one single plea versus the position of the self-righteous religious person who thinks they’ve done a pretty good job of obeying God and who is relying on that as part of their justification.

      Catholic apologists expend large amounts of time and energy defending their works-righteousness church rather than admitting they have no plea and accepting Christ as their Savior. Jesus is not really their “Savior” because they’re in a misguided process of attempting to save themselves.

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      1. Thank you for explaining your position, Sdcharg. I think I understand what you’re saying–as a Catholic, there is absolutely a temptation to think that if you just try hard enough, you can confess every single sin and then God will have nothing to hold against you. I fell into that trap myself, until a priest pointed out to me that I was being silly. Unless I had something really big on my conscience, I was advised to go to Confession once a month and bring a few of my biggest weaknesses that I wanted help working on.

        So whereas before I thought, “I don’t know which of these sins God considers really bad–let me confess them all just in case!” now I have to try to figure out for myself what my biggest faults are. And I realized–I don’t think I do a whole lot of things that are really awful! Is that the reality? Probably not. Probably I just can’t see my own sins clearly.
        They say that the holier a person becomes, the more that person becomes aware of his own sins and how awful they are. Since I’m just starting out in the spiritual life, I guess that puts me at the beginning where I don’t see all my sins clearly.

        So I’m still the Pharisee, but that’s okay. I think part of the process is trusting that God wants me to work on that awareness. It’s like a baby trying to learn how to eat by himself. By no means does he execute it perfectly–there is food all over the floor! But the parent encourages him to try. I think it takes more trust in God to look at the mess on the floor and say, “That’s okay. Dad is helping me, and someday I’ll be better at this than I am now.”

        So that’s been my personal struggle with Confession. To be honest, it’s one of the most difficult things about being Catholic for me–it really rubs my perfectionist, controlling, self-sufficient tendencies the wrong way. But I think the struggle has been productive.

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      2. Hi Rose Marie, It is wonderful that you want to follow Jesus Christ. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus shows the two different kinds of people in the world. The first person, the Pharisee, is a religious person who tries hard to obey God’s commandments. He thinks he does a good job of obeying God and expects that he will receive his reward. Even most people who are not religious think they are “good” people. The second person in Christ’s story, the hated tax collector, acknowledges he is a helpless sinner with absolutely no merit of his own. He repents of his sin and pleads with the Lord to save him. Jesus said the tax collector was saved but not the Pharisee.

        Early Christianity taught salvation by God’s grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ just like the tax collector and the thief on the cross (Luke 23). But the church became part of the Roman Empire and became institutionalized. Instead of preaching repentance and simple faith in Christ, the church began to require people to completely submit to its authority and obey church rules and the Ten Commandments as the way to salvation, the same way as the Pharisee believed. Through the centuries there were always people who turned to Christ in simple faith but they did not represent official church teaching. The Holy Spirit used the Reformers to try to return the church to repentance and simple faith but they were forced to split from the church.

        Catholics refer to Jesus as “savior” but they try to save themselves by trying to obey the Ten Commandments like the Pharisee. No one can possibly obey the Ten Commandments. The Bible says the Ten Commandments only show us we are sinners in need of a Savior. I break the Ten Commandments every day. Jesus said hating someone is the same as killing them. Thinking impurely is the same as committing adultery. We are all condemned without excuse before a Holy God if we do not accept Christ.

        “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Romans 3:20

        There is a great difference between trying to earn your salvation and accepting Jesus as your Savior. You should seek out an Evangelical pastor and discuss this with him. At the least read a good book from an Evangelical that explains the difference between accepting Christ and trying to obey your way to salvation. I highly recommend “The Gospel According to Rome” by James G. McCarthy.

        Remember, Jesus didn’t come to save the self-righteous “good” people. People like that don’t think THEY need to be saved. Like the Pharisee, they think they are doing a pretty good job. Jesus came to save people who admit they are helpless sinners and need a Savior, just like the tax collector.

        “I have not come to call the (self) righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

        Accept Christ as your Savior. Once you have accepted Him then you can please Him by seeking His will. But no one can obey their way to salvation. Jesus said it’s not possible.

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