Train Ride to Hell Redux

In the post below, I was speculating on the ramifications of some U.S. Catholic bishops choosing to grant a dispensation for Lenten meat abstention in their diocese on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17th and other bishops choosing not to do so.

Today I was listening to the 3/9/17 podcast of the “Calling All Catholics” talk radio show (Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY) featuring Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, and moderator, Steve Quebral, which had some bearing on my previous post.

A listener in Buffalo, Allie, called in saying she was traveling down to Texas this week and wondered if she was free to eat corned beef on St. Patty’s Day because Buffalo’s bishop, Richard Malone, had granted a “commutation” (meaning Buffalonians are free to eat corned beef and bangers on March 17th but the abstention must be fulfilled another day of the same week), or was she bound by the ruling of the bishop of the Texas diocese where she would be staying? Rick answered that she would be obligated to follow the ruling of the Texas bishop.

No disrespect to Rick but if Allie were to ask a different priest the same question there’s a good chance he might say she was free to abide by the Buffalo bishop’s ruling. Catholicism is full of many such legalistic rabbit holes.

Praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who freed me from such chains of religious legalism and ritual!



You may remember I was scratching my head a few weeks ago over the cataclysmic “Corned beef on St. Patty’s Day vs. meat abstention on Lenten Fridays” dilemma (see here), but I’m still not quite ready to let go of that tail.

Last night I was checking a few websites and I noticed the local Rochester NY Catholic bishop, Salvatore Matano, issued a letter (see here) saying he is granting a dispensation to all Catholics living in his diocese allowing them to eat corned beef, bangers, or any other meat on St. Patty’s Day, Friday, March 17th without committing a mortal sin. However, Matano also states in the letter that he “encourages” Catholics to “observe the abstinence from meat on another day during that week.” So what I want to know is if a Catholic fails to abstain from meat on another day, do they commit mortal sin? I…

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5 thoughts on “Train Ride to Hell Redux

  1. Yes, Tom, me too!
    “Praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who freed me from such chains of religious legalism and ritual!”
    Your posts show what it is like to follow man-made laws, the inconsistencies and bondage. Thank you, bruder, for being consistent and focused on the Gospel of grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, schwester, Maria! Oh, the impossibility of trying to merit salvation through the Law and jumping over the many man-made hurdles. I remember the exasperation very well. Even the priest on the talk show laughingly admitted that the vast majority of Catholics would not be concerned with the details of the abstention and dispensation like the caller in question was. It’s all robes and finery on the outside but inside it’s so rotten and convoluted that even its priests can’t answer the countless questions and inconsistencies that pop up. I’m glad you also see it, Maria! I think relatively few evangelicals even care these days.

      Liked by 1 person

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