For some years here on the blog, I have hosted a collection of posts on the subject of Lent and what the Church’s law requires during it. Together, these posts are known as the Annual Lent Fight–because many of these questions have been disputed (at times harshly).
This is because there are a lot of popular ideas (read: legends) out there about Lent, often based on attempts to summarize the Church’s law in a popular manner that ends up slightly misstating it.
If you want a careful reading of what the Church’s documents actually saw, check out the material in the Annual Lent Fight.
Is Lent really 40 days long–or is that a traditional and biblically resonant number that is attached to the days of Lent, though current documents indicate a different literal period of time?
How much food can be eaten on days of abstinence? Do you have to measure the size of the “two smaller meals” you often hear about to make sure they don’t add up to a full meal? And how would you measure that anyway? Calories? Volume? Mass? Something else?
Do caloric beverages count toward this total?
What can be eaten on days of abstinence? Do you have to avoid animal fat? Why don’t eggs and fish count as meat? Is it true that the pope was trying to protect the Italian fishing industry by allowing fish? What about eating mammals like capybaras?
Do you have to give something up for Lent? And if you do, can you have it on Sundays?
Of course, keeping the spirit of Lent means going beyond what the letter of the law mandates. A minimalistic observation of Lent focused on the least one can get away with is contrary to the orientation toward spiritual growth that the season is meant to provide.
But that’s no excuse for getting the law wrong–or for failing to grapple with the questions people have about it.
And so, let the Annual Lent Fight begin!
To prepare yourself for the Annual Lent Fight, please check out the following links:
- THE DURATION OF LENT
- LET’S COUNT THE DAYS OF LENT
- “FORTY” DAYS
- THE INFAMOUS SUNDAYS IN LENT CONTROVERSY: I, II, III, IV, V
- THE LAW OF FAST: FOOD
- FASTING AND BEVERAGES
- FASTING AND “APPROVED LOCAL CUSTOM”
- FASTING AND “NO SECOND MEAL”
- FASTING AND “SOME FOOD IN MORNING AND EVENING”
- A SHORT PRIMER ON FASTING (BY SDG RATHER THAN JIMMY)
- MORE ON FASTING (BY SDG RATHER THAN JIMMY)
- THE LAW OF ABSTINENCE
- FISHING INDUSTRY HOAX
- CAPYBARAS AND OTHER AQUATIC NON-FISH
- SOLEMNITIES THAT FALL ON FRIDAY DURING LENT
- SOUPS MADE WITH MEAT
What do you think?