IT’S a year ago today the UKÂ – at a cost to taxpayers of millions – welcomed Pope Ratzinger to Britain’s shores.
Today I learned that, to mark the first anniversary of that ludicrously overpriced junket, the Catholic Church in England and Wales has decided to revive an old rule relating to the eating of meat of Fridays.
Don’t do it, is the basic message.
According to this BBC report, bishops say Friday should be a day of penitence as it is the day on which Christ is said to have died.
And they say Friday penance will be “a clear and distinctive mark” of Catholic identity and an act of common worship.
In a statement issued earlier this month, the bishops said it was important that followers of the Church were united in a common, identifiable act of Friday penance because:
The virtue of penitence is best acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness.
Those who cannot or already choose not to eat meat as part of their daily diet are being asked to abstain from some other food or activity.
A spokesman told the BBC’s John McManus that abstaining from meat wasn’t compulsory, only “commendable”.
Those aged under 14, the sick, elderly, pregnant women, seafarers, manual workers or others in situations where there are moral or physical reasons for eating meat are excused from abstaining.
The practice of not eating from meat on Fridays is centuries-old, but in 1985 the Catholic Church in England and Wales allowed Catholics to substitute another form of penance in its place.
The Bishops’ Conference has published questions and answers on Friday penance on its website.
Other breaking Catholic news:Â On September 8 we reported that atheists in Australian hadÂ has expressed some some reservations regarding the appointment of a Catholic priest to head the country’s national Mental Health Commission.
Monsignor David Cappo’s appointment had been questioned by independent senator Nick Xenophon, who used parliamentary privilege to suggest he failed to investigate in a timely manner sex abuse allegations in the Catholic Church in South Australia.
Monsignor Cappo says he emphatically rejects any suggestion that he did not handle the abuse allegations with proper or due diligence.
But he says the matter has the potential to distract from his appointment to the Mental Health Commission and that he cannot allow that to occur.
Monsignor Cappo has also resigned as deputy chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board.
Hat tip: BarrieJohnÂ and Bill Murray (Oz report)