We are hopeful all the rest of the bishops will be in unison toward this movement back to meatless Fridays because it is the right thing to do. In the Diocese of Dallas, after the shocking trial last summer regarding the sexual abuse case of former priest Rudy Kos, the Bishop Charles V. Grahmann implored his constituents and parishioners within his diocese to go on a one year fast of meatless Fridays in reparation for the sins committed and in prayerful hope healing would come. More bishops need to divert their attention away from the administrative politics of their chanceries, close their ears to the squeaky wheel liberals and open their eyes and ears to those who are truly loyal to all that is synomymous with the Roman Catholic Church. This is one of the great concerns of Mrs. Brown who alerts us that the bishops passing this this spring is not a fait accomplis. She ambitiously is aiming to reach ten million Catholic households and accrue as many pledges as possible toward commitment from the faithful to meatless Fridays for the specific purposes of fasting and praying to end the "culture of death." Bishop James T. McHugh from Camden, New Jersey, who was a member of the Vatican delegation that moved the Cairo conference to reject mandatory population control through abortion, remarked that "Political and public relations efforts to replace the 'culture of death' with a 'culture of life' will not succeed without a spiritual component - prayer and fasting." Mrs. Brown goes even further, stating "This may well be our last chance to avert total moral collapse in America!" Those are strong words but so true. She expresses fears that this proposal will get lost in the shuffle of parliamentarianism where it will be studied but by the time it is brought before the full body of bishops for a vote this June it could very well have been watered down so that it will have lost its impact and what God truly wants. Bishop McHugh echoes this possibility and is openly lobbying for it among his fellow bishops, claiming "The problem is that if there is no specific discipline, everyone forgets and nothing penitential takes place." That is a very good point for if left up to each individual or by diocese you know what the outcome would be. There would be a faithful remnant that would adhere to meatless Fridays for praying and fasting, but the majority would rationalize that since it is not mandatory they don't have to. That is part of the fallout of today's society which the Holy Father has cautioned us on. So also does Mrs. Brown when she remarks that "in order to be effective, the 'Meatless Friday' proposal must be mandatory...for all Catholics." She reminds us that's how it used to be and that this set Catholics apart from all others. She laments that it is no longer that way today. "Many Catholics have lost this spirit of sacrifice and atonement for sin. One of the results of this is the fact that our entire world has 'lost the sense of God,' as Pope John Paul II rightly puts it." For more on the storied history of "Meatless Friday" we refer you to an excellent accounting at the American Life League web site.
The League is also an advocate for stopping liturgical abuse because it is all part and parcel of satan's plan to divide and conquer. Mrs. Brown echoes what we have been saying in these pages for years: "The devil has entwined himself throughout every element of today's society - our schools, our government, our courtrooms, our news centers, our entertainment industry...even our Church!" She gives such examples as the Georgetown University debacle with removing the crucifixes which would have been returned sooner if it weren't for a liberal administration that had to "study" the proposal and examine if the University, a Catholic and Jesuit University no less, should "redefine its mission in a pluralistic society." She states in no uncertain terms that a "Catholic University's mission is to TEACH the TRUTH as defined by the Magisterium!" Her greatest fear regarding the grass roots petition to make "Meatless Fridays" mandatory once more is that it will get bogged down by those bishops who sense a conservative push behind it and therefore will stubbornly forestall it. She cites the facts that many bishops are "being defied when they attempt to curb liturgical and theological abuses in parishes." Cardinal O'Connor used the word "solidarity" to rally the faithful to the cause and this is the battle cry Mrs. Brown employs asking all lay Catholics to "band together in SOLIDARITY with these bishops and deliver this message to all our bishops: Lead us! Shepherd us! We will follow!"
For those who would like to join this crusade and who realize now is the time for Catholics to PRAY and FAST!, we are including the American Life League's Survey where you can pledge your prayerful support toward "Meatless Fridays": SURVEY. This National Catholic Survey is only four questions and should take you all of ten seconds to complete but the more who throw their support behind this movement, the more the bishops will sit up and take notice in June. If we can do that, and the bishops can follow suit, then we can be confident that God will do the rest. So put aside the steak, chicken and burgers and break out the bread, fish and cheese. Peanut butter sandwiches also serve their purpose to remind us that it is a sacrifice. This editor can attest to that first hand! Yet, despite what meatless foods we may opt for, it is only through our commitment to pray and fast on Fridays that we'll be able to get to the meat of "Meatless Fridays" for the sake of America's soul!