Gossip has it that Cardinal Dolan is thinking of bringing back a more specific rule for Catholics: abstinence from meat on Fridays. The usual grumble about this is that it is not a penance to eat fish. Seafood is not only delicious, it’s can also be more of a luxury than meat. Where’s the penance in dining out at some high class seafood restaurant instead of the high class chophouse?
The point is well made that the penance is not in eating fish, but in the abstinence from eating meat. I think it’s a fine point. The general idea is still that one is engaged in some sort of penance, and eating lobster somehow doesn’t ring true.
I thought I’d get a petition going to the cardinal to suggest that everyone eat cheese on Fridays, but then what about the cheese connoisseurs? We dined out with friends on Sunday evening and the cheese board offered the most wonderful delicacies. Perhaps the only solution is for the Cardinal to stipulate that it has to be stale cheese.
I’ve develope this little ceremony for the consumption of stale cheese on Fridays: Remember to “Say the black and do the red”.
A Penitential Rite of the Stale Cheese
This rite is authorized for use on Fridays outside of Lent.
The congregation shall gather in the kitchen where a candle shall be lighted. The dog (if there be one) shall get excited at the prospect of food being consumed.
The chief penitent shall approach the refrigerator with head bowed solemnly. He (or she if it is female) shall open the door.
V: O Lord open thou my lips
R: And my mouth shall consume thy cheese.
The penitent shall search the back of the refrigerator for a morsel of cheese which has been placed there six weeks ago. The cheese shall be placed on the kitchen counter with the fuzzy moldy bits exposed for veneration. The dog (if there be one) shall be sent empty away.
A first reading may be read from the Old Testament. I Kings 22. The story of Elijah being fed by ravens.
Reader: Quoth the Raven
A second reading is taken from the writings of St.Elizabeth of Hungry.
Reader: And all God’s people said:
Response: We’re hungry.
The penitent takes the scraping knife and removes the blue fuzzy mold from the morsel of cheese. This is put to one side to be disposed of in a seemly manner. The congregation bow their heads in prayer.
Prayer: O Lord, take thy sharp knife of discipline and scrape from us all the mold of sin. Leave not one fuzzy blue bit remaining so that our cheeses may be pure again. AMEN
The blue fuzzy mold is then put into the garbage disposal unit (or if there be not one it shall be disposed of in a handy ziplock bag)
Prayer: O Lord, may the blue fuzzy mold of my sin be disposed of in your eternal garbage disposal. AMEN
The penitents may then consume a morsel of stale cheese. For those who are sick or infirm it may be consumed on an old Ritz cracker. This is done in silence.
All shall then recite the Cheeses Prayer.
Let us pray to Almighty Gouda:
Our Feta, who art in Emmenthal, Quesadilla Brie Thy Name…
After cleansing the cheese dish all may wish to retire to the den to relax and enjoy an episode of the vintage television show The Munsters.