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ZipperJJ
03-04-2006, 07:06 PM
My brother was told yesterday by a couple of Catholic friends that Catholics over 60 are exempt from abstaining from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. I looked it up and found general statements of this fact, and also learned that people under 14 (or 7. found 2 different cites) are exempt.

So I am assuming this is for "health reasons" - am I correct?

I have a few questions, though...

No red meat or no meat but fish? (i always thought it was no red meat. someone in another thread said they had chicken friday and then other sources say NO meat)

If the "rule" is just red meat, how does the over-60 exception benefit people? All of the low carb literature I have read says that since low carbers are eating more red meat than usual, and red meat contains so much iron, you should take a multivitamin without iron. What multivitamin has no iron? Centrum Silver! Formulated for folks over 50. So the medical concensus is ... people over 60 shouldn't be eating so much iron (found in red meat) but the Catholic concensus is that folks over 60 shouldn't be skipping their daily red meat allowance once a week for 6 weeks during Lent.

How long has this "over 60, under 14/7" rule been in practice? Is that a holdover from the "no meat at all between Ash Wednesday and Easter" variation of the rule?

Is the idea that older folks don't need so much iron a new one, and the Catholics need to catch up?

I'm so confused :)

BobT
03-04-2006, 07:21 PM
I'm 40 and the abstinence/fast rules have been the same since I was old enough to know what they were.

A lot of the rules are just traditional holdovers. It's not as big a deal as Jewish or Moslem dietary laws and if someone's health forced them into a different diet, few Catholic priests would care. Exceptions are granted all the time. If St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday, people usually eat corned beef and cabbage at church functions. (Except me I hate that stuff.)

As for chicken, it's "meat" under the definitions I was taught. You are really supposed to eat fish if you want to any living creature. That's why they put the little fish on the calendars.

yabob
03-04-2006, 07:34 PM
The old definition I grew up with was "flesh of a warm blooded animal". So chicken was out. You could have a lobster, but not a hot dog. You could eat rattlesnake on Friday, if so minded. When I was a kid, I remember my mother commenting on the enormous business the seafood resturaunts did on Friday night in our largely Catholic area. Since the idea was to make a small sacrifice by foregoing meat, going out for a lobster dinner may have been following the letter, but certainly not the spirit of the law.

Somebody's going to bring up capybaras, I just know it.

JRDelirious
03-04-2006, 08:09 PM
The traditional rule-o'thumb is: no meat of warm-blooded animals. This hearkens back to the time when for those who could normally afford meat or have access to game, going without would represent a sacrifice and an act of humility. Also it's associated with the shedding of the Christ's blood on a Friday.

The exemption for the elderly and the very young is for the sake of not depriving them of needed food for the sake of observing a ritual. (BTw even if it were "red meat", the example of what happens to people who follow a fad diet is pointless, as being able to go on a fad diet means that you're better fed (at least quantitatively) than the majority of human beings who ever lived. )

Polycarp
03-04-2006, 08:50 PM
Unlike dietary laws in Orthodox Judaism, Islam, and so on, the practice of fasting on Friday and during Lent is a spiritual discipline -- abstaining from something pleasurable, not because it is wrong, but to practice self-control and self-denial, and to free one up to give to others.

It's always been a part of the discipline that one is exempt from it for good reason. For example, men involved in heavy labor are expected not to abstain from meat. Anyone with a serious illness is not obliged to abstain. Children and the aged are not required to abstain. Some people are in fact not merely not obliged, but not given the choice -- it's their obligation not to engage in the fast.

tomndebb
03-04-2006, 09:06 PM
it's their obligation not to engage in the fast.Abstinence.

In Catholic terminology, refraining from eating meat is abstaining from eating meat.
Fasting is not eating at all (or, in the specific rules regarding Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, eating no snacks between meals, eating only three meals during the day, the two lesser meals, combined, should not include more food than the largest (principal) meal of the day, which should, itself, be modest in size and not a feast).

(Of course, someone not participating in abstinence would, generally, also not participate in fasting.)

Orthodox rules differ.

ZipperJJ
03-04-2006, 09:47 PM
(BTw even if it were "red meat", the example of what happens to people who follow a fad diet is pointless, as being able to go on a fad diet means that you're better fed (at least quantitatively) than the majority of human beings who ever lived. )

Dude, this isn't a debate about a "fad diet." It's a fact that red meat is a source of iron, and those eating more red meat than usual shouldn't take supplements with iron, because too much iron can pose health risks. This is especially true for the elderly (http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/76/6/1375).

I just happen to know this because I spent years practicing and researching said "fad diet." If I hadn't, I wouldn't have known that high iron stores are bad for people, particularly the elderly. Did you?

So my question has nothing to do with "low carbing" it has to do with red meat, iron, and elderly Catholics.

AskNott
03-05-2006, 01:34 PM
Pope John Paul II, IIRC, was visiting some tropical place, and some of the locals hoped he would make a meat-or-not decision for them. Folks were preying on the sea turtles as a lenten food. The save-the-turtles folks hoped that JP2 would ask them to stop eating turtles. He did not take a stand.

Turtles, as reptiles, are cold-blooded, but the flesh is red meat (or so I'm told. I've never seen it raw.)

JRDelirious
03-05-2006, 03:34 PM
So my question has nothing to do with "low carbing" it has to do with red meat, iron, and elderly Catholics.
And my point is that for most elderly Catholics throughout history, being allowed to eat meat during the Lenten period would have a lesser deleterious effect on health than having to go without it in the hypothetical situation of that being the main or only protein source available. Like Polycarp stated, the abstinence/fast rule has always had exemptions for those who are seen as requiring more nourishment.

Excalibre
03-06-2006, 12:55 AM
Somebody's going to bring up capybaras, I just know it.
Any fool can tell they're fish.