A Room with a Viewpoint

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax— Of cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings.” (Lewis Carroll)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Made Up Sins

So Catholic bishops all over the country are granting "dispensations" to allow Catholics to eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's day.

This is probably the first thing that caused to me to begin seriously questioning the Catholic Church--made up sins. Of course, the practice of fasting and prayer are important throughout the Bible. But as with so many things, the Catholic Church had to make up a rule for when you have to do it (fast, anyway, prayer optional) and then make it a sin to break the rule (a venial sin to be sure, but a sin).

When I was growing up, it was forbidden to eat meat on any Friday, not just during Lent. Of course, this wasn't really a penance, at least in Wisconsin. It just resulted in the creation of the "Friday Fish Fry." Much more fun than hot dogs and accompanied by beer, if you were a grown up.

Then the Church loosened the rule, so you only have to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. (I wonder how many people spent time in purgatory for something that ceased to be a sin.) And now, apparently, a holiday known more for green beer than for any religious meaning is enough for bishops to revoke their made-up rule that is supposed to be a reminder of Christ's 40 days and nights fasting in the desert, in order to add corned beef and cabbage to the beer and other distinctly not religious celebrations. (And isn't there a question about St. Pat being a made-up saint as well??) Ah well, it's just fried fish by another name.