Wednesday, January 31, 2018

THIS IS INTERESTING AND GIVEN THE CHINA GAFF MAYBE TRUE?

UPDATED: But more than his immediate predecessor Benedict, Francis still relies on a close circle of friends from his days in Argentina and as a high-ranking Jesuit to give him the pulse of what’s going on.

--MY COMMENT: YES, THIS IS PRECISELY THE DANK, DARK RABBIT HOLE THAT THIS PAPACY HAS CHOSEN AND THE PAPACY ISN'T WELL SERVED, TO SAY THE LEAST!

Pope's briefing system under scrutiny after Chile gaffe

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN BOSCO, INVENTOR OF BOSCO!!!!!

I always loved St. John Bosco and his love for children which led him to invent Bosco which every child of the 1950's like me, loved. Thank God for Bosco and its inventor, St. John Bosco!



I am sure that I had one of these in the 1950's:
 And the Bosco jar I remember:

HOW MANY RANK AND FILE LAITY ARE AWARE OF THE CURRENT CONFUSION IN THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH AND IF THEY ARE, DO THEY CARE?



I have had very few of my parishioners voice concern for the confusion in the Church at this time coming from the highest places of the Church.

Bloggers and their commenters know about the controversy over the footnote in Amoris Laetitia.

Bloggers and their commenters know that Pope Francis is ambiguous and one is never sure if what His Holiness says lines up with what His Holiness will say later.

Bloggers and their commenters know that Pope Francis committed a pastoral error of the most serious kind in calling victims of priestly sexual abuse liars.

Bloggers and their commenters know that Pope Francis kind of apologized but stood up for the bishop in Chile that has caused so much trauma there but now he is sending an investigate to get more facts from the survivors.

Bloggers and their commenters know that a Chinese retired Cardinal confirmed what Pope Francis said to him which is in conflict with the Secretariat of State and the Secretariat of State has clarified that he and the pope are on the right page but the Chinese Cardinal isn't, a public humiliation of yet again another Cardinal with impeccable credentials and heroic witness to the faith in difficult circumstances.

And then we have this from a bishop of the Church from the peripheries of the world making clear that bishops and cardinals are in a schismatic relationship with each other and the pope and that they need to make a profession of faith to reassure the rank and file members of the Church who in my opinion are oblivious to the hot house antics of the Church at this time.

You can read the article by pressing this title: (Have we ever been in a place like this in recent history prior to a great schism?)

EXCLUSIVE: Bishop Schneider invites world’s prelates to sign Profession of Immutable Truths

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

THIS LOOKS LIKE A COOL MOVIE AND JESUS STARS IN IT!


KUDOS FOR THE CHILDREN'S MASS FROM VISITORS TO SAINT ANNE CHURCH




Good afternoon Father McDonald,

My name is S. S. and I live in Bel Air, Maryland.  My daughter  and I visited your church and attended the 11 am Mass on Sunday, January 21.  I wanted to take a moment to let you know that we enjoyed being in the presence of Jesus, you, and your vibrant and friendly  parishioners !   Your altar servers, acolyte, cantor, and organist added a beautiful reverence to your Mass.  We both thought that your church is very beautiful.   It appears relatively new and I felt like the architecture was a classic Catholic church style and also modern.  St. Anne Church (the people and the building!) reminded me of the church where I grew up, The Shrine of the Little Flower, in Baltimore.

Again, my daughter and I are grateful to have found your parish and enjoyed celebrating mass with you while we traveled !

My comment: The sentence I highlight in blue is so true and exactly how I felt the first time our walked into St. Anne's. I love the blend!

WHEN I SAW MEL GIBSON'S "PASSION OF THE CHRIST" I COULD TELL BY THE ENDING THAT THERE WOULD BE A SEQUEL. I HOPE EVEN COLORING BOOK CATHOLICS KNEW THAT


Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" is actually based upon the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross. I hope all Catholics saw "Veronica's Veil" discretely placed in the movie. Did you?

Of Course, the Stations of the Cross ends with the 14th Station.

I wonder what popular Catholic devotion Mel Gibson's the "Resurrection of the Christ" will be based? But this is indeed Good News, or shall I say, Gospel? I sometimes I wonder if that very good Catholic, Jim Caviezel isn't really Jesus!


New 'Passion of the Christ' will be 'the biggest film in history,' Jim Caviezel promises

USA Today

Monday, January 29, 2018

I THINK I SUFFER FROM MULTIPLE LITURGICAL PERSONALITY DISORDER! WHAT IS THE CURE ESPECIALLY SINCE I THRIVE WITH THIS DISORDER?













I had an interesting, if not dysfunctional, Sunday yesterday as I suffer from multiple liturgical personality disorder. Let me explain.

This week I am scheduled to celebrate Mass for our cloistered Carmelite nuns in Savannah, 25 miles away from my rectory. It began yesterday with a 6 AM Mass. Our Carmelites are from Kenya and thus they have an incluturated form of the Mass as it concerns their music, language and bongo drums. It is quite interesting and it was the first hybrid Kenyan language/English Mass I have ever celebrated as normally when I celebrate Mass there it is always in English. It was quite lovely and I was not in anyway put out by the language, music or bongos. I was appreciative of it in fact.

Then I had my normal 8:30 AM Mass. Our music is a blend of organ and piano and musical selections are often more contemporary than what I have experienced since 1985. But it was very beautiful, reverent and strengthening of our Catholic Faith.

Then our 11:00 AM Mass was our once a month "childrens' Mass". We have a lovely children's choir and their selections are juvenile but in the positive sense of the word. They are fun to listen to and they do sing their hearts out and are quite proud of what they do. We also have children lectors, a child cantor who is as good as any of our adults and at the homily time, a give a children's homily and invite the kids to the altar to sit in front of me. My homily was quite good, if I do say so myself, and given the Gospel of the day, with Jesus expelling a demon who tells the world who Jesus is, "The Holy One of God" I mentioned that if a demon knows who Jesus is, how much more should we and then I said let's talk about demons and a four year child raised her hand and said "I don't know what a demon is." And I said, "that's good for me to know and then I explained the fall of the angels and how  the Archangel Lucifer began the rebellion and disobeyed God with complete freedom of the will for an eternity and brought other lesser angels with him who would forever fight a losing battle against God and drag many human beings to their losing side. I spoke of the great Archangel Michael who defends us in battle. Then I concluded the homily by passing out the St. Michael the Archangel prayer and we faced our lovely statue of him and prayed it together. Stunning no?

Then to cap my liturgical diversity day that has led to my liturgical multiple personality  disorder dysfunction, I celebrated the Cathedral's 1 PM Extraordinary Form for the First Sunday of Septuagesima! I wore lovely violet Roman Vestments. The Catheral Schola is a good as any in our country and they need to do a CD of their complicated Gregorian Chant and polyphony. The leader of the band is 27 years old and the oldest in the schola of about 12 kids who are all much younger than he!

I have to say that I am transported by this form of the Mass into a form of mysticism that I have never experienced in the OF Mass. And since I am facing the apse of the church/cathedral, I can allow my facial expressions to symbolize the euphoria and mysticism I am experiencing especially with the absolutely splendid chanting. I feel as though I am in a 6th century monsastery and could well be--time stands still and I am in eternity which is palpable in this form of the Mass, not so much in the OF Mass unfortunately. 

So doctor, how serious is my multiple liturgical personality disorder? Can I be helped? 

I feel like the character in the movie "The Three Faces of Eve" who lived near Augusta, GA in the 1950's and brought worldwide attention to multiple personality disorder at that time. I grew up in Augusta and I hope it isn't contagious!

SELF ABSORBED ? I'D SAY YES, BUT FOR THE PAST 50 YEARS AND BECAUSE OF VATICAN II WHICH BECAME A "NEW gOD" TO MANY ROMAN CATHOLICS



Mark Thomas points out the obvious in a comment from John Allen's reports on a Dallas event with Ivereigh and Douthat:

"For instance, Ivereigh began by laying out his standard assessment of what the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in March 2013 meant, saying it was a badly needed shock to a Church that had become sclerotic, focused excessively on itself, and so rule-obsessed that the world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for."

In 2013 A.D., obsession with rules marked the Church? The Church in 2013 A.D. was focused on Herself excessively? The world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for?

That doesn't correspond to my recollection. From the 1960s to 2013 A.D. (and beyond), one parish after another offered ad lib Masses, tolerated dissent from Church teaching, and in line with Rome, had opened to the world.

The reality is that decades prior to 2013 A.D., the image of pray, pay, and obey rule-obsessed Catholicism had been shattered.

In 2013 A.D, Austen Ivereigh and I belonged to two very different Churches.


My comments: 

From 1965 through the 1980's all we ever heard about was Vatican II, this, that and the other and we had to be obedient to Vatican II! That is a false idol to say the least.

No we have to be obedient to Almighty God and the Deposit of Faith contained in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. 

And guess what? The Deposit of Faith in out in the open for all to discover. It is not confined to an elite group of people, be they the pope, bishops or theologians, let alone priests and nuns or "nones" today. 

For the past 50 years we have been self-absorbed with "reform" and "social work." The Lord Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament was dethroned in most parish churches, the Liturgy became a hand-holding let's look at one another self absorbed celebration and fellowship became a new sacrament more important than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. And creativity had to be of the Holy Spirit because it came from a committee of people who decided this, that or the other in collective hand holdIng prayer.

And folks, in 2018 we are returning to that self-absorbed 1960's me generation that masked itself with protests, concern for those on the margins and the like.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

CATHOLICS, ESPECIALLY ORHTODOX CATHOLICS WHO KNOW THAT SINS AGAINST CHARITY ARE MORTAL SINS, SHOULD BE KIND IN THEIR REHTORIC IN THESE DIFFICULT, POLARIZING TIMES IN THE cHURCH


John Allen has a good article in today's Crux which you can read in full by pressing the title:

Douthat and Ivereigh showed us how to disagree without being disagreeable 

John L. Allen Jr. 
Jan 28, 2018

Allen states the following which I think should guide discussions moving forward:

 What was obvious all day was how much these guys genuinely like each other, respect each other, and want to learn from each other. In other words, underneath the very real disagreement is an equally real friendship, which informs everything they say and do.

For instance, Ivereigh began by laying out his standard assessment of what the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in March 2013 meant, saying it was a badly needed shock to a Church that had become sclerotic, focused excessively on itself, and so rule-obsessed that the world only knew what Catholicism was against rather than what it’s for. Moreover, Ivereigh said, March 2013 also marked the date when Catholicism truly went “global,” capable of having something other than just the “rich church” conversations that characterize Europe and North America.

Douthat basically agreed with most of that, and said that at his best, it’s still what Francis delivers. He insisted, however, that’s not all Francis has done, arguing that he’s also unleashed severe theological tensions in Catholicism that may only be able to be resolved in a future ecumenical council, and which could lead to some sort of schism on the other side.

My comments: 

 Douthat seems to think some schism is about to happen in the Church which will come about because of an ecumenical council or precede it leading to an ecumenical council.

I don't know about that, I pray that this will not happen. But in the meantime Douthat and Ivereigh give us a model of how to debate sensitive faith issues, as well as discipline issues.  It cannot be motivated by anger and rage or throwing gasoline onto flames, but open, honest dialogue. If one is confident in one's position, this should not be a threat to be civil. 

But what if a schism is looming? Who are the ones in schism. In the Catholic Church schism always means separating from the pope and one's bishop. That is schism pure and simple and is a mortal sin as the Baltimore Catechism makes clear. 

While I may disagree with this, that and the other Pope Francis or even my bishop may being saying or doing, I will remain in union with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. 

The institutional Church may expand what it means to be a good Catholic confirming those who are on either side of issues hitting us today. Progressives will have their progressive parishes. God willing the SSPX will be fully reconciled to the Roman Pontiff and Catholics who prefer the Church prior to the Second Vatican Council will have parishes that allow this expression of Catholicism. 

I don't particularly like this model, but it is where we are going I fear--it is congregationalism pure and simple. It is happening first with Conferences of Bishops have wildly different interpretations of the footnote in Amoris laetitia and it will filter down to smaller groups and already has on many levels. 

Civility, or better yet, the theological term, charity is what is needed today more than ever!

As for me and my household, we always will be in full communion with the pope, the Bishop of Rome!

Friday, January 26, 2018

AS WITH SO MANY GOOD THINGS WITHIN CATHOLICISM, IT'S NOT EITHER/OR BUT BOTH/AND!


Crux has a summary of an interesting debate about Pope Francis from a progressive Catholic, Austen Ivereigh, who loves Pope Francis and a conservative Catholic,  Ross Douthat, (who writes for the New York Times) who is discomforted by Pope Francis.

Press the title for the full Crux article:

Douthat, Ivereigh spar in Dallas over legacy of the Francis papacy

I side with Ross Douthat because he makes sense as most traditional/orthodox Catholics do whereas progressive/heterodox Catholics makes little or no sense and certainly aren't logical.

Here is a secular take on the same thing in Dallas:

After stumble in South America, what does Pope Francis' papacy mean for Catholics and the world?


Here are some sound bites from the Crux article that make my point with my comments in red:

(First, what most of us who are orthodox fear and find mystifying is that lukewarm Catholics or what some call coloring book Catholics as well as the secular world, be they believers or not, love Pope Francis for watering down the Catholic Faith and making it just another NGO. Those who beleive what the Church teaches, as challenging as it is for them personally to follow through, are thrown under the bus! This is polarizing and creating great anger!)

Ivereigh, who authored a 2015 biography of Francis, The Great Reformer, made a case for a “hermeneutic of continuity,” maintaining that “the Francis papacy builds very beautifully on Benedict’s papacy, and so much of what Francis is doing was foreseen, anticipated, and enabled by Pope Benedict.”


In response to the increasing tides of secularization, the Church had grown “distant, dogmatic, more interested in itself than humanity,” argued Ivereigh, taking “refuge in ethics,” rather than discipleship.


“We were converting our faith into an ideology, and what people knew about us was what we’re against,” Ivereigh said. (Such nonsense it is incredulous! Our Catholic Faith splendid truth he calls an ideology and emphasis on doctrine replaces discipleship! What kind of silliness is this and is Pope Francis really promoting this? I hope not because anyone can be a good person and in terms of being good could follow Jesus as a "dead hero!"  But Jesus is the living Lord and teaches us the truth, not an ideology. And is the Church isn't concerned with both/and but rather with either/or, then we are self-absorbed! We are more self absorbed in the Church today under Pope Francis then we have ever been in the past 50 years!)

To Change the Church, Douthat urged caution over what he described as a “Catholic swing toward a more Anglican model of communion,” in the Francis era, which, in his view, has also reopened a host of other connected theological questions.

“I think his [Francis’s] at times carelessness and dismissiveness around doctrine and doctrinal continuity - doctrinal continuity that goes all the way back to the person of Jesus Christ…has led to a situation where the Church is lurching in certain ways to not literal, but a kind of de facto, schism on certain issues,” Douthat warned. (Russ Douthat makes sense here and shows how dumb Ivereigh's analysis really is!)

When asked why Francis has not responded to the dubia - questions submitted to Francis by four cardinals seeking specific “yes” or “no” answers regarding the reception of communion - Ivereigh said Francis was not allowing confusion to fester, but rather to answer the dubia would be to undermine the very process of discernment called for by Francis in Amoris.


“It’s actually a challenge not just to his magisterial authority, but to the whole process of the Synod itself, which was a process of ecclesial discernment,” said Ivereigh, “so Francis can’t answer those dubia directly in some sort of letter without undermining the whole process of the synod.” (All Pope Francis had to do was to meet with the cardinals of the dubia, have a frank discussion in private and then issue a communique that a consensus had been reached and the pope could have said quite easily, if it were true, what Iverigh just said! But no, Pope Francis, marginalizes those of us to inculde his closest collaborators and creates more tension, anger and polarization  in the Church!)


Meanwhile, Douthat disputed the idea that any sort of definitive interpretation has been offered.

“I would mildly dispute that the Holy Father has made clear what the precise and proper interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is,” said Douthat.


He went on to argue that defenders of Amoris want to effectively defend Church teaching on marriage, while at the same time promoting new disciplinary practices that fail to adhere to the doctrinal and ontological realities of marriage.


“There is this constant insistence that we are defending indissolubility…which is well and good,” said Douthat, “but in practice you are evacuating it of all meaning.”


“This leaves the conservatives in the uncomfortable position of essentially dissenting from something that the pope is clearly teaching,” he said. (Amen to that!)


Thursday, January 25, 2018

ECUMENICAL SOLEMN EVENING PRAYER II FOR THE FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL

My favorite two major Basilicas are, first, St. Mary Major and second, Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

The oldest "set-up" of the altar and cathedra is contained in these two Basilicas, with the altar forward and under a "wedding canopy", resembling the wedding bed and the cathedra directly behind the altar against the apse.

St. Peter's prior to Vatican II had the Pope's Throne for Mass at the Altar of the Chair (at the apse) (with its altar hidden by the elaborate throne set up for the Pope, or better yet, the Chair of the Successor of St. Peter.) That custom has been lost in the post-Vatican II papal liturgies there as the pope's chair is now placed directly in front of the altar and which I say yuck:


And here is glorious Solemn Sung Evening Prayer II for the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul:


Pope presides at ecumenical Vespers service

Pope Francis presided at Vespers for the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
By Christopher Wells

As is traditional, Pope Francis presided over an ecumenical Vespers service at the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls for the conclusion of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The end of the Week coincides with the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

The Song of Moses and Miriam

During the liturgical service, a cantor proclaimed a reading from the Book of Exodus, the “Song of Moses and Miriam,” which Pope Francis took as the starting point for his homily. The hymn was sung by the Israelites after they had been saved from the Egyptians by God, an event that many of the Church Fathers saw as an image of Baptism. “All of us Christians,” the Pope said, have passed through the waters of Baptism; and the grace of the Sacrament has destroyed our enemies, sin and death.” Precisely for this reason, he continued, together we are able to sing God’s praise.

Called to community

But, the Pope said, as with Moses, “our individual experiences bind us to an even greater story, that of the salvation of the people of God.” Saint Paul, he said, whose conversion is celebrated in this liturgical feast, likewise had a “powerful experience of grace,” and this experience led him “to seek out communion with other Christians.” This, the Pope said, is also our experience as believers: “As soon as we grow in the spiritual life, we understand ever better that grace reaches us together with others, and is to be shared with others.”

The Pope explained that in recognizing the Baptisms of Christians of other traditions, we acknowledge that they too have received forgiveness, and that God’s grace is at work in them too.

 “And even when divergences separate us,” he said, “we recognize that we pertain to the same people of the redeemed, to the same family of brothers and sisters loved by the only Father.”

United in suffering

Our growth in the spiritual life, however, is often a difficult one, the Pope said, and pointed to the suffering of Christians endured for the Name of Jesus. The Holy Father argued that “when their blood is shed, even if they belong to different [Christian] Confessions, together they become witnesses of the faith, martyrs, united in the bond of baptismal grace.”

Even with other religious traditions, the Pope said, “Christians today confront the challenges that demean human dignity: flying from situations of conflict and misery they are victims of human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery; they suffer hardships and hunger, in a world that is ever more rich in means and poor in love, where inequality continues to grow.” But, he said,

Christians are called to remember the history of what God has done for us, and to help and support one another, and “to face every challenge with courage and hope, armed only with Jesus and the sweet power of His Gospel.”

AS WE APPROACH THE HOLY SEASON OF SEPTUAGESIMA, WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT THE CHURCH'S LAWS ON FASTING AND ABSTINENCE, NO?

Blogger 
 Marc said...
There is no need for Septuagesima in the Novus Ordo because Lent no longer involves fasting. In other words, there is no need to prepare for a fast that does not exist. So the argument for the reinstatement of Septuagesima should begin with bringing back the Lenten fast.

But I say, in reality, we are called to give up stuff, like certain foods during Lent although the giving up isn't as stringent as it was, for which, by the way, priests were allowed to dispense anyone from the Lenten fast who asked, like teachers, construction workers, working and nursing moms, those in school, those out of school, those who were sick, those who want to stay well. Can you imagine how many calls poor Father got? He was happy with the relaxation of the law and the peace and quiet that has ensued! Of course, no one ever calls poor Father anymore.

Marc is wrong, even with the easier fast, we need Septuagesima now more than ever!

Fasting and Abstinence (Old Rules Compared to New Rules) 


First, just a few reminders for those Catholics out there this Ash Wednesday, the ordinary regulations are as follows from the code of Canon law:
  • No Meat
  • For those older than 14, two small meals or one large meal. 
This also applies on Fridays during lent. 
After Vatican II it seems so many aspects of Catholic life changed. How did the rules of fasting and abstinence during lent or the year change?
Definitions BEFORE Pope Paul VI issued Paenitemini (1966) :
  • Fasting (All days in Lent, except Sundays, the Ember Days, the Vigils of Whitsunday, of All Saints, of the Immaculate Conception and of Christmas Day.):
    • All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first year to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to observe the Law of fast. The days of fast are the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas. Only one full meal is allowed on a day of Fast. Two other meatless meals are permitted. These meals should be sufficient to maintain strength in accordance with each one's needs. Both of these meals, or collations, together, should not equal one full meal.
    • It is permissible to eat meat at the principle meal on a Fast Day except on Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and the Vigils of Immaculate Conception, Christmas, and Holy Saturday. 
    • Solid foods between meals is not permitted. Liquids, including coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are allowed. 
    • In connection with problems arising from the Laws of Fast and Abstinence, a confessor or priest should be consulted. Dispensations may be granted for a serious reason concerning health or the ability to work.”
  • Abstinence (The Ember Days, the Vigils mentioned above, the Wednesdays of Lent, Holy Saturdays forenoon, and all Fridays, except Days of Obligation.”)
    • All Catholics seven years and older are obliged to observe the Law of Abstinence.
    • On days of complete abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are not permitted at all. On days of partial abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat ar permitted once a day at the principal meal. 
    • Complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas, and on Holy Saturday. Partial abstinence is to be observed on Ember Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the Vigil of Pentecost.
Definitions AFTER Pope Paul VI issued Paenitemini (1966) :


  • Fasting (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday):
      • All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first year to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound to observe the Law of fast. The days of fast are the weekdays of Lent, Ember Days, the Vigils of Pentecost, the Immaculate Conception, Christmas. Only one full meal is allowed on a day of Fast. Two other meatless meals are permitted. These meals should be sufficient to maintain strength in accordance with each one's needs. Both of these meals, or collations, together, should not equal one full meal.
      • It is permissible to eat meat at the principle meal on a Fast Day except on Fridays, Ash Wednesday, and the Vigils of Immaculate Conception, Christmas, and Holy Saturday. 
      • Solid foods between meals is not permitted. Liquids, including coffee, tea, milk and fruit juices are allowed. 
      • In connection with problems arising from the Laws of Fast and Abstinence, a confessor or priest should be consulted. Dispensations may be granted for a serious reason concerning health or the ability to work.”


  • Abstinence (Ash Wednesday and All Fridays, except Solemnities.”)
      • All Catholics 14 years and older (until age 60) are obliged to observe the Law of Abstinence.
      • On days of complete abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat are not permitted at all. On days of partial abstinence flesh meat, soup or gravy made from meat ar permitted once a day at the principal meal. 
      • In England and specific regions, complete abstinence is to be observed on all Fridays of the year, Ash Wednesday, Vigils of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas, and on Holy Saturday. 
    Sundays have never required either fasting or abstinence. 
    No one is obliged to go beyond the current rules for fasting and abstinence. In recent years, however, some Catholics who have desired a stricter Lenten discipline have returned to the older regulations, and Pope Benedict XVI, in his message for Lent 2009, has encouraged such a development.

    These are just rules. If you are interested in the purpose of fasting, there will be more coming on that topic. However, despite a long history and practice in other religions, the quickest answer is that it is following the example of Christ himself who spent 40 days in the desert.