Catholics asked to abstain from meat on Fridays

The Catholic Church has called for worshippers in England and Wales to return to the centuries-old tradition of abstaining from eating meat on a Friday.

The bishops want to see a return to the canonical tradition in which Roman Catholics observe an act of penitential fasting on Fridays, as well as throughout Lent, to commemorate the day on which Christ is said to have died.

Although the ascetic practice was widely observed throughout Christendom for thousands of years, it was largely abandoned in 1985 when the church allowed Catholics to express penitence in alternative ways.
However, the bishops conference of England and Wales has called for a resumption of the practice, in order to provide a clear and distinctive mark of Catholic identity and reintroduce small acts of devotion into everyday life.

Speaking at the bishops conference of England and Wales, the secretary general, Father Marcus Stock, said: It is too easy to forget sometimes about those who are suffering. This is a regular way of remembering that people are homeless, people are hungry, people are in need.

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