Saturday, 11 December 2010

A funny thing is happening in the UK: talk of 'restorationism'!

A funny thing has happened in the UK, that most liberal-dominated of countries, following the Pope's visit - an outbreak of advocacy by bishops of traditional religious practices such as Friday abstinence. 

Now technically of course, abstention from meat on Fridays, or the substitution of some other suitable penance, is still a requirement for all catholics.  But when did you last hear about it from the pulpit or your bishop?

Restorationism is one of those words liberals use in a derogatory way about the traditionalist agenda. But it actually isn't too bad a word to use when it comes to describe the movement towards stronger orthopraxis currently underway - at the behest of bishops! - involving the recovery practices such as Friday abstinence, and fasting during Lent.

First steps

First the far-from-conservative Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton spoke about restoring the Friday Fast in a Pastoral Letter for Advent.

Then the Irish bishops likewise urged the faithful to take up Friday penance again (albeit including options not just including abstinence from meat).

And now the UK bishops are apparently considering restoring fasting and abstinence during Lent.
The UK Catholic Herald reports that "in the wake of Pope Benedict’s September visit to Britain the bishops discussed restoring Friday penance during their November plenary meeting. They decided that it was important to re-emphasise Lent as a season of penitence first, in order to later look into ways of restoring the custom of Friday fasts, a source said."

"The general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has been tasked with finding ways to revitalise Lent as the penitential season," the Herald Reports.

Can we have it too?

Dr Oldie, a blogger for the UK Herald asks, if we are restoring fish on Friday, can we have back our Holy Days of Obligation too? 

Let's make it an us too for all of the above!

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