St. Patrick’s day and the indult

Happy St. Patrick’s day. It was two years ago today that I was in New York for the festivities myself. I fondly remember those times and am hopeful to return to New York some time soon. I stayed in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Rectory which was quite a treat and got to vist a friend/mentor of mine by the name of Msgr. James Cassidy. He really is quite a priest.

I have been watching with some amusement the number of indults granted to avoid the Lenten Fast for today’s commemoration (that is how it is listed in the Liturgy of the Hours). Short of being your patronal feast day I can’t imagine why a Catholic would have to eat corned beef and cabbage on this day and be angry if they still had to observe the fast. It is a plate of food. It is astounding to me how we tend to worship our culture.

Now I am a big fan of culture and see it as a good thing. I grew up in a place with very strong cultural identities. But Ethnic Heritage seems to have become a new altar many people choose to worship at. I’m this… or I’m that… I have even been told by someone “Fr. were German so as long as you do what we want everything will be fine.” That was the first thing that person had ever said to me.

We all have our different “cultures” we belong to: ethnic, national, state, university etc… It would seem to me the most important culture should be our religious culture, and Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent.


2 Responses to “St. Patrick’s day and the indult”

  1. Kay Says:

    Hi Fr. Todd. I agree with you. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the announcement that the requirement to abstain from meat was lifted for St. Patrick’s Day. I sent an email to the chancery of the ADW asking if they thought St. Patrick was looking down from heaven smiling because people are using his feast day as an excuse to get drunk and eat meat on a Friday in Lent. Um, they never responded back. Why should I try so hard to follow church teaching if it can be blown off at a moments notice because people believe it is their RIGHT and OBLIGATION to pary on St. Patrick’s day, instead of, perhaps abstinence and prayer. And the Cardinal encourages this . . .

  2. Fr Seán Coyle Says:

    Fr Todd,

    For a real Irish person to eat corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day would be a penance! I don’t know where the connection with the patron saint of Nigeria and Ireland came from. It seems to be an American thing, not Irish. BACON and cabbage is a much more typical traditional Irish dish, though there’s no special dish for St Patrick’s Day.

    St Patrick’s Day is a solemnity in a number of countries and in dioceses in parts of other countries. St Joseph’s Day and the Annunciation are solemnities that fall in Lent. Solemnities are feast days and are not meant to be days of fasting but of rejoicing. We sing the Gloria, even though it’s still Lent. And there’s a difference between eating meat on a major feast day and setting out to get drunk – at any time, not just Lent. The Church gives bishops the authority to give an indult as many did in the USA. No bishop told his people that they MUST eat meat!

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