Many Catholics worldwide adhere to the obligation to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, but since today is St. Patrick’s Day, many dioceses are allowing guilt-free consumption of that corned beef.
Bishops all over the U.S. have issued special St. Patrick’s Day dispensations for the faithful. That’s the luck of the Irish and non-Irish alike.
In Siouxland, only the Archdiocese of Omaha is allowing the eating of meat. The Catholic Voice, a media outlet for the Archdiocese of Omaha, announced in February that Archbishop George J. Lucas granted a dispensation for those who wish to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day.
There is no dispensation for the Sioux City and Sioux Falls dioceses.
In some dioceses, those taking advantage of this “get out of fish on Friday” card are “exhorted to undertake a work of charity, an exercise of piety, or an act of comparable penance on some other occasion during the third week of Lent,” the diocese said.
Other dioceses are asking their parishioners to abstain from meat some other day of the week.
The National Catholic Register’s Matt McDonald surveyed all of the bishops in the U.S. to find out which ones are offering a free pass on St. Patrick’s Day, according to this report from Catholic News Agency.
It found as of Thursday, March 16, 72.6% of the dioceses — 127 — were offering some relief from the “no-meat-on-Fridays-during-Lent rule” for St. Patrick’s Day.
Of those saying some form of yes, 93 diocesan bishops are providing a dispensation with no strings attached — although many of those bishops suggest extra prayers or spiritual exercises or abstaining from meat on another day, the story said.
Thirty-four diocesan bishops said some form of ‘yes, but …’ — requiring a substitute through what canon law calls a ‘commutation’ of the requirement, such as attending Mass on St. Patrick’s Day, saying the Breastplate of St. Patrick, praying the rosary, abstaining from meat another day, or helping the poor.
The last time St. Patrick’s Day was on a Friday was March 17, 2017. Lent will end on Easter Sunday, April 9, 2023.
A spokesperson for the Sioux City Diocese told KCAU 9 that technically if a parishioner could eat meat if they did so in the Archdiocese of Omaha.