Can you eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day? What Catholics in Illinois Need to Know – NBC Chicago
It’s St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s also Friday, which means many are wondering if they can eat meat to celebrate the holiday, which falls during Lent.
The answer mostly depends on where one lives, as the bishops of Illinois have been split on the issue.
Lent is the annual period of Christian observance that precedes Easter. During Lent, many abstain from meat on certain days, including Fridays.
So, can Catholics in Illinois eat corned beef and other traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes?
In Chicago, the answer is no, but there is an alternative.
The Archdiocese of Chicago, which represents Catholics in Lake and Cook counties, said in a statement it would not grant a blanket dispensation for the St. Patrick’s Memorial, meaning Catholics would have to continue to abstain from meat on Friday for Lent.
However, the archdiocese also noted that Catholics who find themselves at an event where meat is served can “in good conscience replace the general rule of abstinence with another form of penance or a significant act of charity that benefits to the poor”.
“It is important to take seriously the obligation to observe Fridays in Lent as a way to unite ourselves with Jesus, who died on Good Friday,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Cardinal Blase Cupich granted a blanket dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day in 2017, according to the Chicago Catholic, but asked that those who choose to eat meat “substitute another form of penance.”
Illinois is divided into six dioceses, including Chicago, Rockford, Peoria, Joliet, Springfield, and Belleville.
Rockford Bishop David Malloy, whose diocese covers residents of McHenry, DeKalb and Kane counties, granted a dispensation to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day, asking adherents “to perform another act of penance or charity on that day in honor and observance of the Passover”. Mystery of our Lord and Saviour.
Catholics in the Diocese of Joliet, which includes Kendall, Grundy, DuPage, Will and Kankakee counties, will also receive a St. Patrick’s Day dispensation.
A dispensation was granted by Bishop Louis Tylka on behalf of the Diocese of Peoria, which includes LaSalle County. It asks adherents “to undertake a work of charity, exercise of piety, or comparable act of penance on another occasion during the third week of Lent.”
In Springfield, Catholics are not offered this dispensation, but pastors may grant them “on an individual basis for a just cause,” according to the State Journal-Register.
Bishop Michael McGovern granted a dispensation for the vacation in Belleville, representing most of southern Illinois.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholics 14 and older are required to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent.