Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Return of Meatless Fridays

Francis X. Rocca, a Vatican correspondent for Religion News Service pens this interesting Op-ed in today's European WSJ.  The bishops of England and Wales have upped the cost of belonging starting this September.  Rocca notes:
The English and Welsh bishops specified that they were instructing their flocks to resume Friday abstinence "as a clear and a distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity," adding that the "best habits are those which are acquired as part of a common resolve and common witness."...
Sociologists such as Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, who study the behavior of "religious economies," have observed that churches tend to lose vigor when they relax demands on adherents, especially those tenets and practices that cut against the grain of wider society. In economic terms, lowering the "costs" of membership in this way ends up diminishing its benefits, among other ways by loosening the bonds of community.
Noman wonders if the bishops of the US can be far behind?  A little obligatory abstinence on a regular basis might be just the thing to remind America's faithful that we are called to something greater than falling into conformity with whatever everyone else is doing.

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