Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Little Lenten Fun

No, really...

For Catholics, Lent - the six weeks or so leading up to Easter Sunday - is a time of atonement and self-denial. One often hears of "giving something" up for the duration of Lent. Additionally, all Catholic adults are expected to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. (I'm usually so busy that I forget it's Friday until after I have eaten, but that's another point entirely.) In any case, this is all background that becomes important later.

The Lady Exile is vacationing in Key West this week with her parents. She has had a hellacious work schedule lately, and her vacation is well-deserved. However, while she is enjoying temperatures in the 80s, I am lucky to see them in the 40s as intermittent snow flurries flutter over Boston today. Not that I'm jealous...

This morning, I saw this story come over the AP wire. St. Patrick's day is nearly always during Lent and happens to fall on Friday every few years. Accordingly, if an observant Catholic is going to celebrate the day with corned beef and cabbage, his local bishop needs to give a dispensation. This is usually done without question in dioceses with large Irish populations.

The Archbishop of Boston, Sean Patrick O'Malley, granted a dispensation.

The Archbishop of Miami, whose See includes Key West, did not grant one, leaving the decision instead to local parishes.

Since The Lady's family is very strictly Irish Catholic, I was eager to share the news that I could celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick in the usual way (and to warn them off of their own sinful activities).

So, I dialed Lady E's cell phone to share my joy at being able to enjoy some fine corned beef this Friday.

As the Lady took a good ribbing, her mother noted that the bishops in their home state had all issued dispensations.

I reminded them that those bishops had no jurisdiction over Key West.

The Lady's father then asked how it was that I wondered at people wanting to kill all the lawyers. I couldn't help but laugh all that much harder.

As I hung up, I looked at the flurries outside and reality returned.

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