Can SouthCoast Catholics Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage This St. Patrick’s Day?
One of the things that Catholics are asked by the Church to observe during Lent is to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. The Church believes that the idea is to make a small sacrifice in order to remember the major sacrifice that Jesus Christ made to save us from our sins.
What happens when two traditions collide, though?
Part of being Irish is eating corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. As the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day. So, by extension, Catholics of all heritages may be looking to celebrate with a plate of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.
When St. Patrick's Day has fallen on a Friday, local bishops have granted a dispensation that waived the requirement. Some, however, chose not to over the years. It is totally up to the local bishop's discretion.
This Friday will be the 33rd instance of St. Patrick's Day falling on a Friday, so what will the rules be this year? Well, it's complicated.
Can SouthCoast Catholics Eat Corned Beef on Friday?
In Massachusetts, a state where the top dog in the Catholic Church has the last name of O'Malley, you might guess he would have an affection for St. Patrick's Day tradition. You'd be correct. Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley has already offered a dispensation that allows Catholics to indulge in a St. Patrick's Day feast of corned beef and cabbage. Bishop Edgar da Cunha followed suit in Fall River.
However, Bishop Thomas Tobin decided to keep things a little tighter in Rhode Island. While he made the announcement this week, he tipped his hand a bit last week when he tweeted this:
This is a pivot for the Providence-based bishop, as the last time St. Patrick's Day fell on a Friday (in 2017), he granted the dispensation.
This means that Fall River Catholics can enjoy corned beef and cabbage this Friday, while Tiverton Catholics right up the street will wrestle with giving up the treat.