ABSTINENCE

WHAT DOES IT MEAN ABSTINENCE?

 The word Abstinence comes from latin abstinencia which mean self-restrain. It is a penance impose to the body in order to allow the soul to be the master, to control the body easily.
From the Canon Law, the book of Law for the whole universal Catholic Church we can read the following: 

Can.  1249:
"The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. 
In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons."


WHEN DOES IT START THAT THE CHURCH ASK ABSTINENCE ON FRIDAY?

The first Christian were restraining themselves on Friday in honor of the Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus who suffered on this very day the most terrible pains.

WHY SHOULD I DO ABSTINENCE?

In order to imitate the saints, in order to minimize temptation and hard time in the fight against my own body, in order to make reparation for my sins and the sins of the others, in order to console the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

WHEN SHALL I PRACTICE ABSTINENCE?

Every Friday of the year.
During Lent time.

From the Canon Law, the book of Law for the whole universal Catholic Church we can read the following:
Can.  1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can.  1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

IS IT A MORTAL SIN TO FORGET ABSTINENCE?

  • It is a mortal sin to forget abstinence on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday.
  • For the other Fridays of the year, it is NOT a mortal sin because the Commandments of the Church do specify only on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday.
 

AT WHAT AGE DOES START AND END THE OBLIGATION OF FASTING?

The law of abstinence bound all Catholics, beginning on the day after their 7th birthday.
 
Can.  1252 The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

WHAT ABOUT IF IT IS ONLY A BROTH OF MEAT?

 The law of abstinence forbade the eating of flesh meat and of broth made of meat, but did not exclude the use of eggs, dairy products, or seasonings made from the fat of animals.
 

WHAT SHALL EAT ON FRIDAY?

Fish and all cold-blooded animals may be eaten (e.g., frogs, clams, turtles, etc.).

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