And then...on the Corned Beef Indult 2006? Get Religion rounds up the discussion.
I am too tired to comment intelligently on this, but I suppose I'll just say that the Friday abstinence that remains is little more than a totem for more Catholics than we would like to admit. It's something, and good. But I've known couples who were cohabitating who would be extra careful to abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent. What?
As I said, it's something, and who among us is perfect? Not one. We all persist in our sinful ways, making the smal gesture. Which works, in that small way, to pull us back, to give us a bit more discipline to confront the big things. To understand that if we can make this small sacrifice, maybe - just maybe - we can make a greater one.
The problem, though, is that in the absence of a penitential sensibility, it does indeed devolve into not much more than a Catholic Identity Badge, especially when this blasted Corned Beef business comes into it. It reminds me of the time, 2 or 3 years ago, that Major League Baseball's opening day fell on Good Friday - the first game was in Boston, and there was great discussion about dispensing the fast and abstinence for that day for people going to the game. Okay, how about communicating to people that they might, perhaps, consider that going to a baseball game on Good Friday doesn't fit the day anyway....
But back to the Indult...it's all very bizarre and nothing but a gasp of cultural Catholicism to me. And if I'm hostile, forgive me. My Catholic side is French-Canadian, and we're not that interested in the Irish, except as fellow-sufferers at the hands of the British. Which goes a long way, but not quite this far, although, if I mull it all over as a way to celebrate the resiliance of a people and their faith in the face of repression, well, maybe...I could go for that.
But...is it an indult only for Corned Beef? Or do chicken wings count too?
(See where this leads? As my husband, who usually shrugs about these matters, and still does on this, I think, muttered last week...do you think the Orthodox are fiddling with their Lenten fasts and hankering for their indults...Not by half.)