Around New England

Meat For Catholics This St. Patrick’s Day? Yes All Over New England, Except For One Place

March 17, 2023

All four Roman Catholic diocesan bishops in Massachusetts are allowing Catholics to eat meat on Friday, March 17 even though it’s a Friday during Lent.

So are all the dioceses elsewhere in New England, except for the Diocese of Providence, which covers the entire state of Rhode Island.

In the United States, Fridays during Lent are ordinarily days of mandatory abstinence from meat for Catholics, as part of the penitential practices of the liturgical season.

But many U.S. bishops make an exception when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, since many Irish-Americans have celebrated the day since the mid-19th century by eating corned beef and cabbage.

About 73 percent of all U.S. dioceses this year are granting either a dispensation of the rule (meaning Catholics can eat meat that day with no strings attached) or a commutation of the rule (meaning Catholics can eat meat that day but have to substitute another sacrifice or pious practice in lieu of it). The number as of midday Friday, March 17, 2023 was 128.

Starting in late February, The National Catholic Register surveyed all 175 Latin-rite territorial dioceses in the 50 states of the United States; the Archdiocese of the U.S. Military Services; and the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

An interactive color map of the country’s dioceses with comments from many bishops is available at the newspaper’s web site, along with a story about the history of St. Patrick’s Day dispensations.


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.