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Saturday, March 11, 2023

I Think St. Patrick Would Approve of Bishop Rhoades' Decree!

Let's face it...St. Patrick's Day has become more of a secular festival, an Irish Mardi Gras, than the celebration of a great saint. I don't know whether we will take advantage of the Friday dispensation or not, but if we do, I'll follow the penitential decree of Bishop Rhoades rather than the vague, easily forgotten recommendation of you-choose-it penance from my own bishop. May we all take seriously the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. 

Here's my own bishop's dispensation:

St. Patrick's Day Dispensation

As a general rule, the obligation of abstinence from meat on Fridays of Lent is an important element of the Church’s observance of the penitential nature of this holy season.

This year, however, Friday of the second week of Lent corresponds with Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), which has traditionally been an occasion for joy-filled celebrations in this diocese. Having taken into consideration both past practice and present circumstances, and having judged that it would serve the spiritual good of the faithful, Bishop Burbidge has granted to the faithful of the Diocese of Arlington, as well as to any visitors or travelers who may be physically present within the territory of this diocese, a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence from meat on March 17, 2017.

Those taking advantage of the dispensation, however, are exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the Second Week of Lent.


  1. “Our driver was able to figure out a safe way to go. But you have to know who to trust.”

    Bishop Rhoades Cleared of Wrongdoing (because JT was an adult (like Pavone's groomin' victims)): "A cousin of J.T. (who died in 1996) had contacted the Diocese of Harrisburg saying he recalled Rhoades having travelled with J.T. when J.T. was a minor, and that he thought it was odd and was compelled to report it...Chardo explained that J.T. turned 18 in July 1988, and that Rhoades had no connection to J.T.'s parish until that month, and that he "would have had no opportunity to even meet J.T. before July 1988. In fact, he did not meet J.T. until almost two years later."

    Rhoades first met J.T. in 1990 at the Dauphin County Prison, the district attorney found. J.T.'s mother had asked Rhoades to visit her son in prison. Bishop Rhoade's recollection of events coincided with the records of the county jail, Chardo noted.

    J.T. was paroled April 6, 1990, after Rhoades told a court that J.T. could do community service at his parish.

    "During the time that J.T. was doing community service and spending time at St. Francis Parish, Father Rhoades decided to make a trip to Puerto Rico," Chardo wrote. "A friend of Father Rhoades, a teacher, who was considering the priesthood, also made the trip. Upon learning of the impending travel to Puerto Rico, J.T. asked if he could also join the trip so that he could visit his grandmother there. Father Rhoades agreed. All three men made the trip to Puerto Rico and there was no sexual or intimate contact between them. We interviewed the teacher by telephone as he lives in England … He confirmed Bishop Rhoades' account of the trip and that there was no sexual or intimate contact between Father Rhoades and anyone else during the trip."

    Chardo said the victim, a male, died in 1996 and was around the age of 18 when the alleged incident happened. "It's early on but the victim is long dead," Chardo said. "A first hand account would not be possible."

    The Covid Stations w/Bishop Rhoades

    No mention of hell: "At the same time, we know that we were not created for death, but for life. Our death does not mean destruction and annihilation. We have immortal souls. We know that our human bodies will decay, but that our souls will meet God at the moment of our death. We also believe that God will grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ resurrection. Human death was defeated by the resurrection of Christ. We are preparing during the season of Lent to celebrate the joy of the resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a journey not only to Good Friday, but to Easter Sunday."

  2. Can't see attending mass as a penance nor saying the rosary either (?) Rhoades obviously isn't encouraging, expecting, his flock to pray the rosary daily (?) Doesn't even mention pray the sorrowful mysteries or say a 15 decade rosary (?) Why not the stations of the cross? N.O. lent is a joke lent - 2 days of fasting (ash wed and good friday) out of 365 in the year (b4 P6 dispensed, had to fast every day except Sunday on pain of mortal sin if between ages of 21-59 during lent). And only Fridays of Lent is abstinence practiced vs whole of life from 7 til death before VC2 (at that time dispensation might have made more sense). Considering the condition of Ireland and the Irish Catholics in the U.S. the only way to honor/get the aid of St. Patrick (not to mention God) in my view is to redouble one's penance on March 17. [Pre 1955 missal celebration of St. Joseph's feast, March 19, is moved to the third wednesday after Easter since it always occurs during Lent.]

    It is hard to understand why all these changes were made. It is also astonishing to me that groups like opus dei and conservative Catholics do not believe that in order to transform the culture only one thing is necessary to transform ourselves back into the Christians we used to be. But these people do not want priests or religious. They may want to convert the whole world and be friends w/everyone, "show love" (Fr Z may think he is getting to them w/their own arguments, but also changing the way Catholics who read him think so that showing 'charity' is kowtowing to people's feelings regardless of any principle of right or wrong) and lose justice. VC2 wants to unite the world, but what difference does it make if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul? SSPX has kept the soul of the Catholic faith.

  3. Question. What would St Patrick himself think, to see his feast day used as an excuse to wiggle out of an already-minimal penance? This half-Irish person thinks he'd be spinning in his grave.

  4. I agree in one sense, Janet. But we were having this discussion last night with my daughter after dinner. Her children love Fridays in Lent because they like fish and their mom doesn't, so they are delighted to get salmon or shrimp,etc. during Lent.

    I personally don't find abstinence any penance myself. It seems to me that since many Catholics do NOT attend daily Mass or pray the daily rosary or visit the Blessed Sacrament, urging those pious practices is a blessing. One can hope it becomes a habit for those who take the bishop's advice. I'm half Irish also and think St. Patrick would not be displeased to see people increasing their prayer and worship.

    Christ with me,
    Christ before me,
    Christ behind me,
    Christ in me,
    Christ beneath me,
    Christ above me,
    Christ on my right,
    Christ on my left,
    Christ when I lie down,
    Christ when I sit down,
    Christ when I arise,
    Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.

  5. I always thought the abstinence from flesh meat had more to do w/the blood sacrifice of Christ - animals were sacrificed in the O.T. Prior to 1966, Friday abstinence was from age 7 to death (age of reason/first penance/first holy communion). There is no necessity to eat fish--it is an option. We usually eat grill cheese/egg/tuna salad. Also it is not much of a penance -- more like the sign of the cross - a reminder of what Christ suffered for us and beginning of preparation for Sunday. [Where I attend mass, follow the 1917 Code of Canon Law and abstinence from age 7.]

    "Up until 1966 Church law prohibited meat on all Fridays throughout the entire year. The new law was promulgated in 1983 in the revised Code of Canon Law which states, “Abstinence [is] to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Canon 1251). “All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence” (Canon 1252). The U. S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) extended this law to include all Fridays in Lent. Since Jesus sacrificed his flesh for us on Good Friday, we refrain from eating flesh meat in his honor on Fridays." [What I find objectionable about Rhoades dispensation, is that the sacrifice/sufferings of Jesus Christ are not mentioned ('world peace' doesn't cut it).]

    I think the bishops dispense so Irish can eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. To me that is one of the worst meals ever but I think the dispensation should be clear that it is only for cultural meat meal.

    Notre Dame is in Rhoades diocese. Since this is mainly a "green beer" bar blowout, I think the bishops should also make clear that getting drunk is a mortal sin and often leads to sins of impurity and car accidents/deaths.

    Reply to Objection 2. To take more meat or drink than is necessary belongs to the vice of gluttony, which is not always a mortal sin: but knowingly to take too much drink to the point of being drunk, is a mortal sin.

  6. Actually, corned beef and cabbage is not a typical Irish meal, but when Irish immigrants came to the US they could not find the type of bacon that they would eat with their cabbage in Ireland. Corned beef, thanks to the Jewish immigrants was cheaper and more available so was used as a substitute.

  7. This past Sunday our pastor read a letter from our Bishop (Diocese of Charlotte NC) granting dispensation if we either attended Mass on St. Patrick's feast, attended Stations of the Cross that day, prayed the Breastplate of St. Patrick, or one other thing that I can't remember. I cannot find the letter anywhere on the Diocesan website and I believe it was communicated after our bulletin was printed, so nothing in there.
    The point is, we have to do an alternate penance and it can't just be one Hail Mary.
    We have lived in two other dioceses, one of them an ArchDiocese (twice) and I remember dispensations on Friday St. Patrick's but never any alternate penances being specified.
    Most people don't even know that the Friday abstinence still applies year round. This is an opportunity to educate - and to get people thinking. The fact that there is a dispensation may cause people to ask "dispensation from what?" And I'm not joking.
    I am thrilled that our Bishop has done this and pray that more will follow. Deo gratias!