Local Catholic Leaders Issue Dispensation On Eating Meat For St. Patrick’s Day

CHICAGO (CBS) – Catholic leaders in the area are giving the faithful, who observe meatless Fridays during Lent, a break on St. Patrick’s Day to enjoy corned beef.

For decades, Catholic leaders have avoided getting in between Irish Catholics and their corned beef when St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. And this year is no exception. WBBM’s Bernie Tafoya reports.

Cardinal Blase Cupich and Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon are giving Catholics a dispensation on eating meat on that day – March 17 – guilt-free.

Fridays during Lent, many Catholics abstain from eating meat; therefore, both Cardinal Cupich and Bishop Conlon ask Catholics if they do plan to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day to do another penance instead.

Bishop Conlon even points out that his name is very Irish and he sees no connection between honoring St. Patrick and eating corned beef.

“My name is Conlon — very Irish. More significantly, I am Catholic, and Lent is an important season of prayer, penance and charity. If some fellow Catholics within the Diocese of Joliet feel that eating meat on St. Patrick’s Day – which this year falls on a Friday — is important enough to break the rule of abstinence, they are permitted to make a conscientious decision to do so. In that case, they should substitute some other form of penance,” Bishop Conlon said in a statement. “For myself, I see no connection between honoring the patron saint and apostle of Ireland and eating corned beef.”

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Bishop David Malloy of the Rockford Diocese has also issued a dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day.

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