FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
A simple guide
Fasting is understood as having ONE NORMAL MEAL during the day.
- Depending on the customs of each country, it is allowed to take a very light breakfast and a very light dinner if the principal meal is lunchtime; or a very light lunch if the principal heavy meal is done at night.
- During the rest of the day, one must not eat, taking into account that water and medication do not break the fast.
The Code of Canon Law, nn. 1251-1253 state that:
- Canon 1251 “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless (“nisi”) they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. “
- Canon 1252 “All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; The law of fasting, however, binds all those who have attained their majority until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors of souls and parents are to take care that minors not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are also educated in a genuine sense of penance.. “
- Can. 1253 “It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.”
B) Dispensation from fasting and abstinence: Some cases when one is exempted.
- Those who have the dispensation from the proper legitimate Church authority ARE NOT OBLIGED to fulfill the Church law on fasting and abstinence.
- Moreover, all those who, due to physical or moral motives, encounter important difficulties e.g., the sick or those recovering from illness, persons suffering from poverty or malnutrition and those who have to carry out tough manual labor…are also not obliged to fulfill this norm on fasting and abstinence.
- Those who are exempted from fasting may substitute it with other sacrifices to which their generosity, spirit of penance and love for God spur them to do.
A Blessed Lenten season to all.
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo