BY A STAFF REPORTER IT IS to be a bread-and-2. water day for thousands of Britons next Friday—hmily Fast Day. instead of their usual three meals, families will fast and give the money saved to the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) at special collections in Churches the following Sunday, March 10.
Since CAFOD was launched five years ago the amount raised has increased steadily. In 1963 the total was £66,698, rising last year to more than 30,000.
The distribution has been approximately 44 per cent in Asia. 40 per cent in Africa, 15 per cent in Central and South America and the West Indies, and one per cent in Oceania.
In last Sunday's Lenten Pastorals the bishops appealed not only for a fast next Friday but a real effort during the whole of the six-week period to bring back the real meaning of Lent PENANCE INCREASED Cardinal Heenan said the recent ending of the "no-meaton-Friday" rule did not mean that Catholics should relax Friday penance but rather that they should increase it.
"The obligation to abstain from meat on Friday has gone not because it was too hard but because it has become too easy. It made some people laugh at the Catholic idea of penance. Imagine, they said, doing penance on Friday by eating a tine meal of fish or eggs while for millions in Africa and Asia a meal like that would be sheer luxury. . . .
"As Pope Paul pointed out, we in the prosperous nations must do penances which bear some relation to hunger and poverty elsewhere."
Bishop Worlock of Portsmouth said the very fact that the choice of penance was left to individuals meant that sometimes they evaporated in unfulfilled good intentions.
"To help keep one another up to the mark it will be best if households and families discuss together what they will now do to give outward expression to their love of their Redeemer. Some may want to make it a day of fasting,
TURN TO PAGE 9 making do with only one full meal.
"Others may see what opportunities there are in their area to show their love for the suffering Christ by visiting the sick and the aged in hospitals and homes. But try to settle something definite, or the observance of Friday as the day of the Lord's death will soon disappear."
RULES AND SPIRIT
Bishop Holland of Salford said it was important to note the difference between the rules of Lent and the spirit of Lent. He went on: "The old Lent was formidable. A dark colonnade, so to speak, of 40 days. with the Sundays as gaps.
"It was a monument to the Old Testament fasts and Our Lord's forty days in the wilderness. Only two columns now remain: one at the beginning, one at the end-Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. They are days of Fast and Abstinence, and they come under obligation. We should be glad. I think, that at least these tokens remain to link us with our forefathers in the Faith.
"The spirit of Lent is another thing. It is a definite following of Christ, an association with His sufferings in order to be with Him in the joy of Easter. This spirit remains, and will always remain, among us. We are not merely advised to have it. We are more than obliged to have it.
"As Christians, as Catholics, we do not exist without it. How we live it, what form we give to this spirit is left now to our own generous choice apart from the two days Ash Wednesday and Good Friday."
SAD MISTAKE Bishop McClean of Middlesbrough said it would be a sad mistake if we concluded that the repeal of the law of abstinence from meat on Fridays meant that the Church considered penance, mortification and self-denial not so important for modern people.
"Let everyone endeavour to discover the things in his life which have established forbidden claims upon his heart. These are the points where our fasting must begin. These are the things on which our selfdenial must feed,"
Archbishop Beck of Liverpool said: "It is possible to think of self-denial in two very different ways. There are those who think of it in a negative and rather dull way. They tell us to do without some of the things that please us, to mortify ourselves. to practise selfcontrol.
"Give up smoking, they say; or give up television; or give up sweets. They are right, of course-but not completely. We must be able to control our appetites and be masters of ourselves. We must train ourselves to resist temptation. Some devils can be cast out only by prayer and fasting.
"But there is more to it than that. To practise self-denial in this way could, in fact. be a form of selfishness. We can become narrow and selfcentred even about our spiritual lives. We can become imprisoned in ourselves.
"What Christ expects of us is something bigger and more outward looking. He wants us to think of other people-to be so keen to love and to help others that we are ready to forget about ourselves. By looking for what we can do for others, we stop looking at ourselves."