Friday, March 7, 2008

Why Fast During Lent

The Lenten Fast that many Catholics observer dates back into the ancient, a far stricter version. In the early church there was no set rules so the fast as observed in may differnet ways.

Once there was a central church, in the Middle Ages, meat, egg and dairy were singled out to the foods to abstain from. The thought of this these were bought more pleasure than fish according to Thomas Aquinas. In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas defines the rules of the Lenten fast. He says that the fast was instated to curb the strong desire or concupiscence of the flesh. Additionally it is said that the drinking of wine increased desires of the flesh and thus why that also was added.

However, because of the corruption of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, often a donation allowed a special dispensation from dairy products. A dispensation is by definition is the act of an authority, in this case the church, to make an exception to laws.

In the modern day maybe of the old world rituals are still observed. In the West, the rituals are far more relaxed. However in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches are far stricter and adhere to more old world traditions, meals consisting of mostly vegetarian meals. The Lenten practices in the West, centered on the Roman Catholic Church has been refined to be no meat on Fridays, however dairy products are allowed. What the Catholic Church has defined is as meat is Ungulates, or meat of a hoofed animals. The more customary fast is reserved for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Catholic Church defines more customary as been a full day of fast which includes no meat. Each person is allowed one full meal on this day and also may have two smaller meals if its needed.

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