What happens when two Catholic-associated events happen to occur at the same time during the Lenten season? There's an answer to that question - at least when it comes to St. Patrick's and whether or not you are allowed to eat meat when it falls on a Friday.

As it sometimes does, St. Patrick's Day falls this year on a Friday that just so happens to be during the season of Lent.  And that poses a problem - at least for Catholics following the penitential requirement to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during the Lenten season.

And while there could be other select occasions which might make a Catholic pause and question their meal choices on a Lenten Friday (i.e. weddings, anniversaries, etc), usually the answer for practical Catholics is to abstain. But in the case of St. Patrick's Day - a celebration of the Feast Day for the Catholic Irish Saint, there is often dispensation made to allow for a traditional corned beef meal.

Such is the case for St. Patrick's Day in 2023 - a Friday - during Lent. At least for some Catholics.

Dispensations that allow for deviating from abstaining from eating meat on a Friday don't come from the Vatican - so there is not general absolution. Instead, the decision is determined at the local Diocesan level - by the Bishop.

For 2023, the majority of Dioceses in Minnesota and Wisconsin have issued that dispensation for March 17 - St. Patrick's Day. For that one Friday, faithful Catholics will be allowed to partake in the traditional Corned beef meal that everyone associates with the Irish celebration.

Locally, both the Duluth Diocese (in Minnesota) and the Superior Diocese (in Wisconsin) have dis

A survey taken across the country found that the majority of U.S. Diocesan Bishops are offering that dispensation this year. While most gave a general dispensation for the day, a few suggested a commutation; that means that while they could eat meat on the Friday of St. Patrick's Day, they would be required to "substitute some other penance if they plan to eat meat".

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