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Feasting Beats Fasting

The Catholic Church recognizes and celebrates over 10,000 saints. We also have additional feasts celebrating Marian apparitions and important biblical events.

We do like to party. At least theoretically.

The truth is, in this moment of history, since we aren’t really good at fasting, it follows that our ability to enter into feasting is also compromised.

The fasting and abstinence requirements for Latin Catholics—in the United States and, largely, abroad—are minimal. In the U.S., the only required days of both abstinence (from meat) and fasting (one meal, two snacks that don’t add up to a full meal) are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting is required for people ages eighteen to fifty-nine, and abstinence starting at the age of fourteen.

The Eastern Catholic Churches (there are twenty-three of them) have their own particular laws to be followed. For example, my own church, the Armenian Catholic Church, requires abstaining from meat on all Wednesdays and Fridays.

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