A Catholic archbishop in Omaha waived the meatless observance of Lent in favor of following meat-centric traditions of St. Patrick’s Day.
This year, St. Patrick’s day falls on a Friday (March 17) during Lent—a 40-day period leading up to Easter when Christians must abstain from meat. This clashing of the holidays has created a conundrum in the Irish-Catholic sect, as most celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by consuming meat-heavy dishes such as corned beef. Archbishop George Lucas in Omaha, NE has granted members of his church permission to eat meat during the holiday as long they abstain from it the next day. “There is a spiritual grace in abstinence,” spokesperson for the bishop Tim McNeil said. Nearby, in Grand Island, NE, Bishop Joseph Hanefeldt will not be allowing his followers to eat meat (which excludes fish, as the animal is not classified under that category) on St. Patrick’s Day. “He wants the emphasis to be on maintaining the spirit of Lent,” Hanefeldt’s representative Margaret Proskovec said, “which is a time of sacrifice, repentance and conversion.” Going vegan in observance of Lent, as recently argued in popular publication The Independent, would be the most fitting as it follows the Christian belief of respect for all of creation.