Obligatory Friday abstinence from meat to return?

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan has raised the possibility of returning to the obligatory Friday abstinence from meat, saying that the measure could help to strengthen Catholic identity.

Meatless Fridays, the archbishop suggested, were one of many “markers” of the Catholic faith:

Lord knows, there used to be tons of them: Friday abstinence from meat was one of them, but we recall so many others: seriousness about Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation; fasting on the Ember Days; saints names for children; confession at least annually; loyal membership in the local parish; fasting for three hours before Holy Communion, just to name a few.

Such “markers,” Archbishop Dolan said, contributed to a strong sense of religious identity, which is not as evident in the Catholic Church today.

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