Great Britain : The Bishops Re-establish Friday Abstinence

Source: FSSPX News

Bishop Vincent Nichols.

From September 16-18, 2011, the Catholic Church in England and Wales celebrated the first anniversary of the apostolic visit of Pope Benedict XVI which took place from September 16-19, 2010.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, invited the faithful of the country to participate in this anniversary celebration. He described the celebration as “a huge opportunity for us to remember again the graces and the energy that surrounded the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and to take fresh encouragement from it.” He added that this anniversary should strengthen the involvement of the faithful in the life of the Church, in families, and in the work place.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has issued a decree titled “Catholic Witness, Friday Penance,” effective as of September 16, 2011. This decree recalls that Canon Law stipulates that, “abstinence from eating meat or some other food according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops is to be observed on every Friday of the year.” (Canon 1251) The British bishops have thus decided to re-establish this practice which should be accompanied by prayer. Those who are vegetarian should abstain from some food other than meat on Fridays.

On Sunday, September 18th, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral. To commemorate the first anniversary of his pastoral visit to the United Kingdom, Benedict XVI sent a message through Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, thanking the Catholics of Great Britain for their warm welcome and encouraging them to be “joyful witnesses to the Gospel in their country.”

The Holy Father similarly encouraged seminarians always to take their inspiration from Christ and to devote themselves totally to their intellectual and spiritual formation with an eye toward being the heralds of the new evangelization. Lastly, Benedict XVI entrusted Great Britain to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman on this first anniversary of his beatification. (Sources : apic/kna/radiovatican/vis – DICI n°242 du 14/10/11)