Friday Fast

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The Friday Fast is an Eastern Orthodox,[1] Roman Catholic, and Anglican practice of abstaining from animal meat on Fridays. According to Pope Peter of Alexandria, the Friday fast is done in commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday.[1] Abstinence is colloquially referred to as "fasting" although it does not necessarily involve a reduction in the quantity of food.

Since the Second Vatican Council, it has not been widely followed by Roman Catholics apart from Lenten Fridays and Good Friday itself. Specific regulations are passed by individual episcopates. In the US in 1966, the USCCB passed Norms II and IV that bound all persons from age fourteen to abstain from meat on Fridays of Lent, and through the year. In September 1983, Canons 1252 and 1253 expressed this same rule, and added that Bishops may permit substitution of other penitential practices , but that some form of penance shall be observed on Friday in commemoration of the day of the week of the Lord's Crucifixion.[2]

Most episcopal conferences have not allowed to substitute a different penance for Fridays of Lent, though e. g. the German one has; no episcopal conference has lifted either fasting or abstince for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstinence on all Fridays is still the preferred practice among many Catholics.

Anglican formularies, particularly the Book of Common Prayer, have generally required abstinence from meat on Fridays, though it is difficult to gauge how widely followed this practice has been among Anglicans. The wording in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church describes the fourth Friday of March as the only Friday acceptable during Lent to eat meat.[3]

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