Chinese Catholics in Manila Archdiocese will be allowed to eat meat on the first Friday of Lent on Feb. 16 as it coincides with Chinese New Year.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila has issued a circular granting dispensation from the Lenten discipline of abstinence to Chinese Catholics in his jurisdiction.
“In view of the celebration of Chinese New Year, its cultural and spiritual importance, and the traditional practices associated with it, we therefore grant dispensation from the Lenten discipline of abstinence to our Chinese-Filipino and Chinese Catholics in the Archdiocese of Manila and their guests,” read the prelate’s circular.
This year’s observance of the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year falls on a Friday two days after Ash Wednesday on Feb. 14, the start of the Lenten season.
Cardinal Tagle, however, reminded those who will avail of the dispensation to “engage in some other forms of penance, acts of mercy and charity, especially to the poor and those who suffer in keeping with the penitential spirit of Lent.”
Catholics who are 14 years old and older are required to abstain from meat and to fast on all Fridays of Lent, as well as on Ash Wednesday, and on Good Friday.
A dispensation is the exemption from immediate obligation in certain cases, according to church law.