Tagle exempts Chinese from Ash Wednesday fasting

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Tagle exempts Chinese from Ash Wednesday fasting
In the Manila Archdiocese, exempted Chinese-Filipino and Chinese Catholics 'must engage in some other forms of penance' on Ash Wednesday

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle exempted Chinese-Filipino and Chinese Catholics from the required fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday, February 18, as the penitential day falls on the eve of Chinese New Year.

In a circular letter, Tagle said the dispensation applies to the Archdiocese of Manila on February 18 from afternoon until midnight.

By granting this dispensation, Tagle said he recognizes the “cultural and spiritual importance and the traditional practices” associated with the Chinese Lunar New Year.

“Those availing of the dispensation must engage in some other forms of penance, acts of mercy and charity, especially to the poor and those who suffer, in keeping with the penitential spirit of the season of Lent,” Tagle said.

The Catholic Church obliges its members to fast by eating only one full meal and to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day penitential season of Lent. (READ: Tagle: It’s fasting, not diet)

On this day, Catholics have their foreheads marked with ashes to symbolize repentance from sin. 

The Church also requires Catholics to practice both fasting and abstinence on Good Friday, when they commemorate Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and death.

On all Fridays of Lent, abstinence from meat is required. 

In his message for Lent, Pope Francis reminds Catholics that aside from fulfilling these practices, they should strive to “become islands of mercy in the midst of the sea of indifference.” – Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com