Fil-Chinese, Chinese catholics exempted from fasting, abstinence on Ash Wednesday
The Archdiocese of Manila has granted Filipino-Chinese and Chinese Catholics in its episcopal jurisdiction exemption or dispensation from the obligation of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, as the penitential day falls on the eve of Chinese New Year.
However, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle stressed that those who will avail of the dispensation “must 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 the season of Lent.”
A dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation in certain cases, according to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church.
In a post on Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website, Tagle noted in a circular that this year the eve of the Lunar New Year coincides with Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, during which Catholics are obliged to observe fasting and abstinence.
The dispensation applies to the Archdiocese of Manila on February 18 from afternoon until midnight.
By granting this dispensation, Tagle said he recognizes the “cultural and spiritual importance and the traditional practices” associated with the Chinese Lunar New Year.
During Ash Wednesday, the priest or a lay minister applies ashes in the form of a cross on the forehead of each Church member while saying, “Repent and believe in the Gospel,” or, “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”
Church leaders said the observance of Ash Wednesday is very significant because it is during this time that the faithful admit they are now ready to repair whatever damage they have done in their relationship with God and with others.
Apart from desiring renewal, the faithful should also fast and abstain not only from food but also from their passions and desires, Church leaders added.
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