Wednesday, March 05, 2014

TEc's Carbon Fast and Fasting Lite

While searching for helpful resources for Lent, I got off track and wound up with some unhelpful ones such as the following gem from TEc's friends at the United Church of Christ that I found thanks to the helpful link the Episcopal church Lenten resources web page provided,
Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast 
"An invitation to you AND to your congregation: 
Please Join Us in a Lenten Fast . . . From Carbon
Make this your Congregation’s Lenten discipline!"
"One of the smartest things I've done in my 85 years."
 "My electric bill dropped $78 monthly on average."
"2014 will be the fourth year we have provided a day-by-day opportunity to fast from carbon as a Lenten discipline. Initiated by the UCC and endorsed by other denominations and faith groups, people of every Christian perspective – and people who are not Christians – have benefitted from this opportunity to become more conscious and conscientious in their daily lives...
...We invite you to join us as we commit to fasting from carbon during Lent. Beginning Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, participants will receive a daily email with the day's suggested carbon-reducing activity. Many will also suggest ways to engage others. Each daily email will also provide material that can be the basis for a weekly congregational conversation."
When the Episcopal church's House of Bishops penned "A Pastoral Teaching" in 2011, they did not exactly name it a "Carbon Fast", but they essentially called for the same thing by linking fasting to reducing one's carbon footprint. The letter is way too long to reproduce but may be found at this link.

The following additional Lenten resources were complied by the Mission Staff of the Episcopal Church.
- Seeking God’s Justice for All:  Exposing the Doctrine of Discovery Part Three: (Link to .pdf)

- Elder Abuse Awareness: (Link here)
I didn't find any of that very helpful, so I swam the web's Tiber and turned up what I shall call "Rome's Rules for Fasting",

The Rules for the Roman Catholic Church:
The Code of Canon Law prescribes (Canons 1250-1252):

Can. 1250: The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251: Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252: The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Growing up, my mother claimed that fish was not meat, so we were permitted to eat fish on Friday. From reading the canons above, it appears that as long as we were under 15 we could have eaten a whole cow and gotten away with it.

In the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has declared that "the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth."

A great reason to look forward to that 60th birthday!

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are:
1) Obligatory from age 18 until age 59.
2) When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal.
3) The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards (also from USCCB).
1.9 meal equivalents still sounds like plenty of carbon. And all this time I thought fasting was "to abstain from food".

Maybe I ought to stick to reliable sources like Sanctuary Red Quiver's Facebook page which is working on Lenten resources for traditionalists in South Carolina.


  1. Pewster,
    "The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year." Somehow this and cheap entrance into the National Parks does not make up for the infirmities of being age 69. We did install solar this year so that is our ongoing effort to reduce carbon emissions.

    1. By my calculations, the average American male would reduce their daily caloric intake from 2600 cal. to 1600 cal. by following the RC lite fast. This is easily doable even for a 60+. Whether or not it is spiritually filling is another matter.

  2. So what do they smudge with? I mean ashes are made from carbon are they not?