Enter your email address to receive updates by email:

subscribe in a reader like my facebook page follow me on twitter Image Map
Podcast Message Line: 512-222-3389
Logos Catholic Bible Software

« The Nature of the Second Coming | Main | John Paul II Prayer Cards and Relics »

March 02, 2007


Ed Peters

Speaking as the guy in the group who (a) eats the least, (b) never orders grossly over-priced booze, and (c) skips dessert, i'd ask for my own check. If they don't like it, invite somebody else.

Tim J.

I think this is sound advice. Due to the kind of caricature that has been made of faithful Catholics, I think it is good at times not to sweat the small stuff, as Jimmy suggests.

The gesture of friendship is more important.

I was discussing this kind of thing last night with some friends. Establishing genuine relationships is extremely important. We have to "earn the right to speak". If we approach people only as "potential converts" I think we will run into problems. We don't want to come off like the Jehovah's Witnesses at the door.


Very similar issue at my house on Ash Wednesday. My fallen away brother dropped in from out of town. I could hardly tell him and his daughter to eat out because we were fasting. We made dinner (meatless) for all though in hindsight we could have had meatballs for the spagetii for my brother and niece.

Little things like this drive me crazy. I am almost scupulous about this but also, once the food is in front of me, I eat generously...you know, not to offend others.

Sigh, luckily there's extra confession times this month.

A Catholic Mom

Why not suggest to the gang that you all go to a seafood restaurant on this day?


I've found that sometimes slack Catholics are actually very willing to do a "little thing" like abstaining from meat. You never know when that "little thing" might makie them think later: "Gee, maybe I should try going to Mass sometime."

Dan Hunter

My non practicing sister who was baptised Catholic,and recieved the second,third and fourth sacraments,but no longer is Catholic,is a vegetarian and inadvertantly does not eat meat on fridays,Ember Days or other days of abstinence.
Please pray that she has a conversion to the Church.Her name is MaryJane.
I apologize for this random comment,but she also has a one year old baby who she does not want to baptise.Please pray for her.
God bless you.

Therese Z

If you wanted to do a little reparation for those lax Catholics with you, you could silently order a Lenten meal you didn't like very much, and offer your hidden denial of your own will/appetite for the renewing of their desire.

Ed Peters

Slowboy. Why? It's your house for Pete's sake, fix whatever you want. I don't get this "We have to fix special food for company just cuz they showed up."

Catholicmom: Right. Though it's always struck me as odd, that "passing up" a MickeyD's burger was supposed to be penance, while the Seagoing Guy's seafood platter at Red Lobster was ok. Oh well. I'm just a lawyer.

DanH. will do.

TerryZ. Good advice. Eating whatever is served is a good exercise in humility. Mother recommended it often to her sisters.


TerryZ. Good advice. Eating whatever is served is a good exercise in humility. Mother recommended it often to her sisters.

__Except where your obligated like Fridays of Lent...


Since everyone is talking about dinner parties, I wanted to let everyone know the recent news of the 10 leading Bishops and Patriarchs in the Holy Land recently upsetting the NeoCatechumenal Way Liturgical 'dinner party' by heartily accepting them into their dioceses(as the Arinze Letter did), but at the same time, demanding that they respect the rule : "one parish, one eucharist".
This is an important update as of Feb.25, 2007 but has been largely overlooked by the news:

[Text of the Entire Letter from the Bishops of the Holy Land to the NeoCatechumental Way translated from the SPANISH TO ENGLISH using Google, and minor translation clarifications made by A. Williams. Obviously this is not a perfect translation, due to it being based primarily on the Google program, and then with some overlays from the Zenit translation'quotes' above, and then some additional 'un-professional' clarifications from myself. Again, it's not perfect but it is still intelligable and better than the deficient ENGLISH 'summary' of the letter given by ZENIT on Feb.27, 2007. Maybe this will 'help' until an authentic translation can be made in the Engish of this important letter.

Code: ZS07022703
Date publication: 2007-02-27

* * *

Letter to the Neocatecumenal Way in the Holy Land

Brothers and sisters of the Neocatecumenal Way:

1. The peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.

We, Ordinaries of the Holy Land, directed this letter to you at the beginning of Lent, within the framework of the common Pastoral Plan for this year, whose subject is catechesis and religious education in the parish.

Brothers and sisters of the Way: you are welcome in our dioceses. We give thanks to God for the grace that the Lord has given you and for the charisma that the Holy Spirit has instilled in the Church through your ministry of the post-baptismal formation. We are grateful for your presence in some of our parishes, for the preaching of the Word of God, for the help given to our faithful in deepening their faith and in rooting them into their own local church, in “a synthesis of kerigmatic preaching, change of life and liturgy” (Statutes, art. 8).

Following the Letter that Pope Benedict XVI directed to you the 12th of January of 2006 [v. Zenith, 12 January 2006. Ndr], and the one of the Congregation for the Divine Cult of 1st of December of 2005 [v. Zenith, 1 January 2006. Ndr], we request to you that you occupy a place in the heart of the parish in that you announce the Word of God, avoiding to make a group aside. We would wish that you could say with St. Paul: “For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. ” (I Co 9, 19).

The principle to that we must all together remain faithful and to inform our pastoral action would have to be “a parish and a Eucaristía”. Your first duty, therefore, is to root (the faithful) in the parishes and in their own liturgical traditions in which they have grown for generations

In the East, our liturgy and our traditions are very important to us. It is the liturgy that has contributed much to conserve the Christian faith in our towns throughout history. The rite is like an identity card and not only a way among others to pray. We request that you have the charity to include, understand and to respect the attachment of our faithful to their own liturgies.

2. The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity in the parish and not of division. We request therefore that in the eucarístic celebrations, in all the Eastern rites, and in addition in the Latin rite, they are always presided over by the parish priest, or, in the case of the Latin rite, in the heat of agreement with him. You celebrate the Eucharist with the parish and according to the way of the local Church. “There where is the bishop, is the church”, wrote St. Ignatius of Antioch. You teach to the faithful the love by its liturgical traditions and put your charisma to the service of the unit.

3. We request in addition that you seriously study the language and the culture of the people, in a sign of respect towards them ...understanding its soul and its history, in the context of the Holy Land: religious, cultural and national pluralism. In addition, in our countries, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, all are in the search of peace and justice, a search that integrally comprises our lives as Christians. All preaching would have to orient to the faithful the concrete attitudes that there are in the diverse contexts of life and in their own situation of conflicts that continue in Palestine: attitudes of pardon and love towards the enemy, on the one hand, and by another one, exigency of their own rights, especially dignity, freedom and justice.

We request that you preach a Gospel incarnated in the life, a Gospel that illuminates all aspects of life and roots itself to the faithful in Jesus Christ Revived and all his human atmosphere, cultural and eclesial.

We request that God overwhelms your hearts with His strength and His love, and that He grants grace to you so that you can overwhelm the hearts of the faithful with its love and its strength.

Jerusalem, 25 of February of 2007

+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
+ Elias Shakour, catholic greco-melquita archbishop of Acri, Haifa, Nazaret and of all Galilea
+ George El-Murr, catholic greco-melquita archbishop of Filadelfia, Petra and of Jordan
+ Paul Sayyah, maronita archbishop of Haifa and Earth Santa, and exarca patriarcal maronita of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan
+ Fouad Twal, Latin coassistant bishop, Jerusalem
+ Kamal Bathish, Latin auxiliary bishop, Jerusalem
+ Selim Sayegh, Latin patriarcal vicar for Jordan
+ Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin patriarcal vicar for Israel
+ Pierre Melki, exarca patriarcal siro-catholic of Jerusaén, Earth Santa and Jordan
+ George Bakar, exarca patriarcal catholic greco-melquita of Jerusalem
Rafael Minassian, exarca patriarcal Armenian catholic of Jerusalem, Earth Santa and Jordan


Sorry, ..."a parish and a Eucaristía", above, somehow escaped translation. It shoud read as.. "One parish, and one Eucharist".


it's always struck me as odd, that "passing up" a MickeyD's burger was supposed to be penance, while the Seagoing Guy's seafood platter at Red Lobster was ok.

I enjoy fish and so I've thought about this alot too. It occurs to me that the penance I am doing in this situation is foregoing my choice to eat whatever I would have otherwise.


In reverse: Yes, passing up a McD' burger for lobster does completely miss the point butthis doesn't negate the absinence it only point to our need for grace to fufill even the littlest obligation.

Part of the point though is to do as your Mother, the Church, told you and not to second guess her. No meat. If you want to fast or make your meatless dish truely spare and bland then God bless you.


My husband and I have decided to abstain from meat for all of Lent this year, except on Sundays. (We choose to abstain from meat on Fridays year-round.) It's been going alright so far, and easier than I thought it would be. (I'm still glad we're not Orthodox - I would have a lot harder time giving up eggs and dairy!)

It's easier this way to remember, at very concrete time throughout the day, that we're in Lent!


I want to second the thing about eating meatless on Fridays in Lent being evangelism in itself. It's amazing how people notice this, especially when you yourself don't say anything about it or draw any kind of notice to it. And many people who are normally non-practicing Catholics will follow suit, almost automatically. Lent is engrained in us pretty deep.


I want to second the thing about eating meatless on Fridays in Lent being evangelism in itself. It's amazing how people notice this, especially when you yourself don't say anything about it or draw any kind of notice to it. And many people who are normally non-practicing Catholics will follow suit, almost automatically. Lent is engrained in us pretty deep.

What was said in the above is so true!

I remember that when a certain Catholic had done this in his workplace; there was actually one Protestant there who also followed suit.

Unfortunately, it was a non-practicing Catholic who spoke up about this later on, saying that these days most Catholics don't even perform this Lenten practice anymore and went on to discourage her from further doing this.


My first comment here: Why do we abstain from meat on Fridays? A co-worker (Christian but not Catholic) asked this today and the only response I had was that it was a sacrifice. He persisted, and I think he wants to know why we abstain from meat. I did a cursory search of this site, but I didn't see quite what I was looking for.

Thanks for your help in advance.


The very purpose of the Lenten practices (such as that of fasting and abstinence) is supposed to teach us to place the things that are of God (and, by so doing, God Himself) over the things of this world -- even human nourishment!

As even Jesus said in Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him: it is written that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word of God.

Lent is supposed to be a time of learning to desire God over the things of this world.

The entire meaning of Lent is to instill in us the selfless desire for God over the World and the things of the Flesh; to overcome the 'self' and learn self-detachment, self-denial and, above all, self-less devotion to God over temporal and worldly things.


Esau - you have summarize the true meaning and goal of Lent in a few sentences.

God bless you!!!

Fr Martin Fox

Giving up meat is a sacrifice, and thus a penance; doing penance is a divine law (our Lord said, "repent, and believe in the Gospel"), how we do it comes via church law, i.e., no meat on Fridays, etc.

I would argue that the rules of fasting and abstinence are subject to exceptions arising from common sense and other values.

So, for example, health concerns do legitimately exempt one from these rules (common sense); also, when one is a guest at dinner provided by another, eat what is before you; if you can avoid eating meat without giving offense to your host, that's great; but that may not be the case. After all, one can easily observe the abstinence at another time.


would it be a sin to not evangelize? assuming you have faith and know for certain that the catholic church is the true church. b/c your diocese and parishes were full of abuses; proabortion, pro homosexuals, pro euthanasia.
is it a sin to not evangelize in that case?


St. Francis: "Preach the Gospel always; when necessary, use words."

Mary Kay

Several people have said it's okay to not abstain if it's "eat what's put in front of you," but I've always been able to say matter-of-factly that I couldn't have meat, but I could have whatever else was offered. I've never run into a problem with it.

Of course, most people who know me, know that I'm Catholic to the core, so it's not a big statement. For myself, some of the most effective witnessing I've seen were Catholics who quietly lived their Catholic faith.

Fr Martin Fox

Mary Kay:

I hear you; but my advice stands, because many people simply don't handle situations like that with grace. I mean both those presented with a plate of food, and those doing the presenting.

So, of course, if one can maintain abstinence, and do so without giving offense to ones host, or coming across as prissy, by all means, do so.

But if not--and come on, we all know people who just don't handle this sort of thing well--then it seems to me that the result is counterproductive, both for the cause of evangelization, and also for the penitence of the Catholic.


A funny note: a few years ago, when I was teaching at a Catholic School but hadn't even considered becoming Catholic yet, it took me several weeks to realize, "Oh, the Lent thing. Now it makes sense why the menu the past several Fridays has been cheese pizza and fish sticks!"


Honestly, in this day and age of everyone having to do what's easiest, I think a gentle reminder that some take the Church's authority and a penitent soul seriously is not a bad thing.

While you can't force other people to follow the Church's guidelines, you can follow them yourself, even if they put half a roast cow in front of you. If vegetables are also there, you can eat that. If not, well, Christ went 40 days, I'm sure we can go a few hours.

For those but the rudest host, I believe telling them that you think the dish looks lovely but it would be against your faith practices to eat it at this time should suffice. If they wish to press the matter, it can be a good time to gently discuss why it is important to you and perhaps even educate them about the virtues of the fast you are doing for your faith. Christ did not come to give us guidelines to make us popular. Quite the contrary really.

John J. Simmins

Last Friday, I went to a business breakfast with two, non-practicing Catholics. We all ordered breakfast combo’s and I specifically said that I wanted mine w/o meat. Well, it came with bacon and sausage anyway. I picked up the meat with my fork and placed it on a side plate. I LOVE bacon. It felt like it weighed 400lbs. Well, one non-practicing Catholic devoured his steak and eggs w/o so much of a thought. The other, though, pushed his bacon around a bit and ended up leaving it. Don’t know if it was my witness but I found it interesting.


Is it true that if bacon bits were mixed in with other ingredients in an omelette, then it would be okay to eat?


No, Viajero. It's a bit like throwing some ham into your vegetable soup. :)

The comments to this entry are closed.

January 2012

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31