We wondered: Can Catholics who are abstaining from meat while observing Lent receive the equivalent of a one-day pass that would allow them to enjoy corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day?
The answer, it turns out, is yes — under certain circumstances that are, well … complicated.
We know the issue has come up in Dayton-area parishes, since this is the first year St. Patrick’s Day has fallen within Lent since 2006, according to this story from catholicnewsagency.com that explores the issue in great depth.
The Catholic News Agency story shows that more than 80 dioceses in the U.S. have announced some form of dispensation on St. Patrick’s Day this year, but cautions that Catholics should check with their local diocese before partaking in “the celebratory meats.”
So we posed the question to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which includes the Dayton, Hamilton, Middletown and Springfield areas. Here was the answer we received from Lisa J. Weber, Secretary to the Chancellor for the Archdiocese:
“If a Catholic in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati wishes to request a dispensation from the abstinence of meat on St. Patrick’s Day, we ask them to write to the Archbishop by postal mail. He will then consult with their pastor.”
So it might be a bit too late for this year. But now you know for the NEXT time the beloved Irish holiday falls on Lent.
By the way, the best line from the Catholic News Agency story comes from J.D. Flynn, a canon lawyer and Special Assistant to Bishop James Conley in Lincoln, Neb. When the story’s author asked about her own extremely proud Irish grandmother who declared a dispensation for herself and all her Irish kin on St. Patrick’s Day, regardless of where they reside, Flynn’s response was:
“Your grandma was, with all due respect to her Irish brilliance, mistaken.”