For all of you who are in the United States, this Friday, July 4th is the day that we celebrate our independence.
Many of us will be grilling, drinking, and lighting off those oh so much fun fireworks. Nothing says freedom more than blowing something up.
But, this year, the Fourth of July falls on a Friday. And seeing as Fridays are days of abstinence, the question arises: Am I allowed to eat meat this Friday, seeing as its a national holiday, and an important one at that.
Father Z wrote up a fairly lengthy post on the subject here. To summarize though, it appears that:
1. It is up to the bishop of your diocese to decide whether there will be a dispensation from the obligatory penance in his diocese.
2. The USCCB has determined that the faithful can decide what sort of penance they would like to substitute on Fridays. You are permitted to give up any other food or item you feel would work, or can add an extra rosary or some form of additional prayer.
You will want to check with your diocesan bishop to see if he has relaxed the need for penance. If not, I would abstain from meat if you can. Just think how much tougher it will be. Penance is not supposed to be easy. The harder your penance is, the more grace you obtain.
If you feel the desire to give up something else, that is up to you, but, try to keep with Catholic tradition and identity by giving up meat.
Have a blessed Fourth of July.