Paddy's Day on a Friday lifts Catholic ban on meat that day

Catholics Can Eat Meat on St. Patrick's Day Chicago Cardinal

Catholics Can Eat Meat on St. Patrick's Day Chicago Cardinal

For Irish Catholics anxious about St. Patrick's Day falling on a Friday during Lent this year, Cardinal Blase Cupich has some good news for you.

What would St. Patrick's Day be without the traditional corned beef and cabbage? The Chicago cardinal said Catholics who do eat meat on St. Patrick's Day can choose an alternate form of penance in place of abstaining.

While not mentioning that explicitly, Bishop Zubik's letter urged those celebrating the holiday to do so in a way that "truly honors this good and humble saint".

St. Patrick's Day falls on a Friday this year.

Bishop Zubik noted that the meat prohibition is not something the church enforces but that it's a discipline that Catholics undertake as part of a spiritual preparation during the six-week season of Lent, leading up to the central Christian holy days of Good Friday and Easter.

In Omaha, Neb., Archbishop George Lucas granted a dispensation but decreed that those who eat meat on St. Patrick's Day must abstain the next day, according to the CNS report.

"I encourage all who make use of this dispensation to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day". For example, when one diocese did not lift the ban but the neighboring one did, the debate focused on whether a resident in the banned region should be allowed to cross diocesan lines to eat meat or remain under home rule.

We'll have to wait and see how many St. Patrick's Day celebrants decide to sacrifice their Guinness beer or McDonald's shamrock shakes instead.