I`m surprised no-one seems to have picked up on a story in the current issue of the Tablet entitled `Bring Back Friday Fasting, says Bishop Conry.`
Apparently the bishop of Arundel and Brighton is keen for Catholics to return to this ancient Catholic practice. I`m so glad to hear it. He is reported as saying that `the practice would strengthen Catholic identity`. I couldn`t agree more. Apparently he was going to bring it up for discussion at the recent meeting of the bishops.
The bishop is quoted as saying: " This was one of the most obvious signs of Catholic identity apart from going to Mass. It determined the diet in places like prison and hospital and was something Catholics were instinctively conscious of: we knew that we couldn`t have meat lie everybody else and it was a source of pride- it marked us out as different"
The Tablet comments that while it was discussed at the bishops` meeting no announcement was made but that an announcement on penance would be made at Lent.
Eamon Duffy was campaigning for this a few years ago. I see this as a very hopeful sign given the reasoning behind the proposal. A strong sense of Catholic identity is something that has been almost completely lost in the years since the Council. Let`s hope we hear more about this.