Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/98

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ABSTINENCE
ABSTINENCE
70

flesh meat is not permitted. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays during Ember Week are still days of abstinence and fasting. The vigils of Christmas, Pentecost, Assumption, and All Saints are also days of abstinence and fasting. In virtue of faculties granted by the Holy See, workingmen, and their families as well, may use flesh meat once a day on all abstinence days throughout the year except Fridays, Ash Wednesday, Holy Saturday, and the vigil of Christmas. This indult was issued for ten years, 15 March 1895, and renewed for another decade on 25 February, 1905. (See "Exposition of Christian Doctrine", Philadelphia, 1899, II, 528–529; Spirago-Clarke, "The Catechism Explained", New York, 1900; Diocesan Regulations for Lent.)

In Great Britain and Ireland, Fridays during the year, Wednesdays during Advent, weekdays during Lent, Ember Days, the vigils of Christmas, Pentecost, the Assumption, All Saints, Sts. Peter and Paul, and St. Andrew (in Scotland only) are days of abstinence. Meat is allowed by indult at the principal meal on all days during Lent except Wednesdays, Fridays, Holy Thursday, and the second and last Saturdays. Eggs are allowed at the principal meal during Lent except on Ash Wednesday and the last three days of Lent. Milk, butter, and cheese are allowed at the principal meal, and at the collation during Lent, except on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Lard and drippings are allowed at the chief meal and at the collation, except on Good Friday. Suet is prohibited whenever meat is not allowed. Fish and flesh are never allowed at the same meal on any fast day during the year (Catholic Directory, London, 1906). In Australia, Fridays during the year, Wednesdays and Saturdays during Lent, Holy Thursday, Wednesdays during Advent, Ember Days, the vigils of Christmas, Pentecost, the Assumption, Sts. Peter and Paul, and All Saints are days of abstinence. There is a somewhat general practice whereby the use of meat is allowed at the chief meal on ordinary Saturdays throughout the year. For the rest, the application of the law of abstinence is much the same as in Ireland (The Year Book of Australia, Sydney, 1892). In Canada, Fridays during the year, Wednesdays during Lent and Advent, Ember Days, the vigils of Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, the Assumption, Sts. Peter and Paul, and All Saints are days of abstinence. The abstinence incident to the feasts of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Assumption is transferred to the eve of the transferred solemnity. Milk, butter, cheese, and eggs are allowed during Lent even at the collation; lard and drippings as in the United States. (See "Expos. of Christian Doctrine", Philadelphia, 1899, II, 528, 529.)

The Greek Church.—In the Greek Church the law of abstinence is designated by the term xerophagy in contradistinction to monophagy, signifying the law of fasting. In its strictest sense xerophagy bars all viands except bread, salt, water, fruits, and vegetables (St. Epiphanius, Expositio Fidei, xxii; Migne, P.G., XLII, col. 828; Apost. Const., V, xviii, ap. Migne, P.G., I, col. 889). On days of abstinence meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, oil, and wine are rigorously interdicted. This traditional custom of rigorous abstinence still binds the Greeks on all Wednesdays and Fridays, on all days of their Major Lent, including Saturdays and Sundays, except Palm Sunday, on which day oil, wine, and fish are now permitted, and on the vigils of Christmas and Epiphany. Xerophagy seems to have been obligatory only on these days. Another less severe form of abstinence, still common among the Greeks, prohibits the use of meat, eggs, milk, and sometimes fish on certain occasions. According to their present regime, the Greeks observe this mitigated form of abstinence during their Lent of the Apostles (i.e. from Monday after the feast of All Saints, celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost, until 29 June); during Mary's Lent (1-14 August); during Christmas Lent, or Advent (also called St. Philip's Lent, 15 November to 24 December); 29 August (commemoration of the Beheading of St. John Baptist) and on 14 September (feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross). The canonical regulations determining obligatory abstinence have suffered no substantial alteration during the lapse of many centuries. In its general outlines this legislation is the same for the Greek Church Uniat and non-Uniat. The Uniat Greek Church is not allowed to father any innovation without explicit authorization from the Holy See (Benedict XIV, Decret. Demandatam, # vi, in his Bullarium, I, 128, Venice ed., 1778). Though usage and dispensations have led the way to certain modifications, the canons covering this matter remain unchanged. Custom has made the use of vine and oil legitimate on xerophagy days. In many places fish is likewise allowed, except during the first and last week of their Major Lent. Goar (Euchologium, Venice, 1730, 175) says that the Greeks of his day were allowed by an unwritten law to eat fish, eggs, snails, and such-like viands on xerophagy days.

Innovations in the duration of the Greek penitential seasons have originated in usage. Thus arose their practice of spending the week preceding their Major Lent in minor abstinence, as a prelude to the more rigorous observance of the Lenten season (Nilles, Kalendarium, II, 36, Innsbruck, 1885; Vacant, Dict. de théol. cath., I, 264). This custom lapsed into desuetude, but the decrees of the Synod of Zamosc, 1720 (tit. xvi, Collect. Lacensis, II), show that the Ruthenians had again adopted it. The Melchites have reduced their xerophagy during Christmas Lent to fifteen days. The same tendency to minimize is found amongst the Ruthenians (Synod of Zamosc, loc. cit.). The Apostles' Lent counts no more than twelve days for the Melchites. Goar says that their Christmas Lent is reduced to seven days. Other alterations in these seasons have been made at various times in different places. The Greeks enjoy some relaxation of this obligation on a certain number of days during the year. Accordingly, when feasts solemnized in the Greek Church fall on ordinary Wednesdays and Fridays, or on days during their various Lenten seasons (Wednesdays and Fridays excepted), a complete or partial suspension of xerophagy takes place. The obligation of abstaining from flesh is withdrawn on Wednesdays and Fridays between Christmas and 4 January; whenever Epiphany falls on Wednesday or Friday; Wednesday and Friday during the week preceding the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross; during the octaves of Easter and Pentecost. Some of the Greeks, especially the Melchites, hold that xerophagy does not bind from Easter to Pentecost [cf. Pilgrimage of Etheria (Peregrinatio Sylviae) ap. Duchesne, op. cit. 569]. In their partial suspension of the xerophagy the Greeks maintain the obligation of abstaining from flesh meat, but they countenance the use of such other viands as are ordinarily prohibited when the law is in full force. This mitigation finds application as often as the following festivals fall on Wednesdays or Fridays not included in their Lenten seasons, or any day (Wednesdays and Fridays excepted) during their Lenten seasons: 24 November, Feast of St. Philip; 21 November, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 7 January, Commemoration of St. John Baptist; 2 February; Presentation of Christ in the Temple; 25 March, Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; 29 June, The Apostles; 6 August, Transfiguration, 15 August Assumption; and Palm Sunday. St. Basil's rule in followed by all monks and nuns in the Greek Church.