It would be very easy to become Pharisaical about fasting, either in Orthodoxy or Catholicism. Fasting is a means, not an end. To adhere to every jot and tittle of the rules for fasting from food can quickly makes us into pharisees. I have always been taught that we are to fast from *sin* and that the fasts involving food items were just an aid to help remind us of that and to bring us closer to that ideal. I can only imagine that that is why in the Catholic Church we are encouraged to partake of other penitential practices if we are unable, for whatever reason, to fast from food. The only exception to this that I can think of at the moment would be the pre-communion fast.
The only way we can avoid sin is to pray and fast. The two go together.
I hate to bring this up, but many Catholics have suggested that the huge pedophilia scandal is due to the lack of fasting, and hence inability to say NO to sin.
This is something I've never heard before, and was wondering if there is **any** evidence anywhere to back that up. Not speculation, but evidence. And remember, correlation does not equal causation.
(If the mods want to move this to a separate thread, that's fine by me )
Why do we fast? Is it not to say NO to sin: any and all sins (including sins of passion)?
Why do the monastics abstain from meat throughout the year, only having fish on special feast days?
They do battle against their passions.
What is the main amino acid in meat products that stimulates the passions? l-Carnitine?
Scientific studies of primates indicates that certain primates need to indulge in meat in order to mate, conceive, and then bring to fruition healthy offspring. I have lost the link to one of these studies, but a search using any college search engines will bring that one up. Right now, I do not have access to a college computer.
Then ask yourself, has the pedophilia epidemic improved or become worse since Vatican II and the dismal changes in the rules of fast and abstinence?
Why was the Friday Abstinence once again imposed on the people of England and Wales?
Was it punishment, or was there another reason?
FINALLY, I will say this:
The Friday abstinence is TOO LITTLE and TOO LATE.
Having the laity observe abstinence only one day a week is inconsequential.
Observing the Ancient Fast on Wednesdays and Fridays is better.
Observing the Nativity Fast and Great Lenten fast to the best of one's ability would be very helpful.
I wasn't asking why we fast, and I agree that we do so for our spiritual benefit, and out of obedience to the Church.
I wasn't asking why monastics fast. I'm aware of the reasons. The *vast* majority of us are not monastics.
L-Carnitine? Really?? That's why we sin?? Paleeeze!! L-carnitine plays an important role in energy production by chaperoning activated fatty acids (acyl-CoA) into the mitochondrial matrix. In other words it helps to store and increase energy. Meat eaters tend to get more of it than those who do not eat meat. Is energy used for sexual activity? Well...duh! Are there more meat eaters on the planet than vegetarians/vegans? Don't know. Is there a causal relationship between l-carnitine levels and the number of human carnivores on the planet compared to the number of vegetarians? I doubt it, but since you bring it up, prove it. Oh yes, here's one for you--were Adam and Eve carnivores, omnivores, or vegetarians? Did they just grill a steak before eating the apple?? C'mon!!! News Flash!!--"L-Carnitine inflames the passions and causes sin!!" Give me a break!!!
You write, "Then ask yourself, has the pedophilia epidemic improved or become worse since Vatican II and the dismal changes in the rules of fast and abstinence?"
Do you have reliable statistics for the **proven** incidence of pedophilia amongst Catholic priests prior to Vatican II? Did you not know that the incidence of pedophilia (using your term as a catch-all for sexual abuse, not very accurately by the way) amongst Protestant ministers, teachers, and other segments of U.S. society has been said to be at least the same as, if not far greater than, that *reported* (and not all reports are true) of Catholic priests?
I asked for *evidence*, NOT speculation or correlational logic to back up your statement that the pedophilia scandal is due to a lack of fasting, and you have provided.....none. If you are unable to do so, just say so. No one will hold it against you. If you do have reliable evidence, let's see it!
Now, I will concede one point about that, and one only--the more we pray and fast, *especially* if under some form of good spiritual direction, the less we *may* sin. But, it sure isn't a hard and fast arithmetical or mathematical equation like 1+1 *always*=2. No guarantee. None.
You say, "having the laity observe abstinence one day a week is inconsequential". Now, *there's* a leap! How do you *know* this?? Sounds pretty judgmental to me.
You say the Friday abstinence is too little, too late. Perhaps as a "rule" of the Church. Perhaps more fasting *is* better, and I would tend to agree with that. But what do you know of the fasting habits of British Catholics and their level of sin? And again, please, evidence
not speculation. I'll repeat, correlation does NOT equal causation!