Rorate Caeli
The Friday after Thanksgiving Day indult ...

Just a reminder or, for some new to tradition, a wonderful heads up, that there is no required abstinence from meat this Friday.

While always a topic of great discussion, it is a fact that Pope Pius XII granted Americans a dispensation from their Friday abstinence, so that they may enjoy turkey the Friday after Thanksgiving. I say "enjoy" turkey because that is truly the only reason he would have granted it -- the arguments over refrigeration and whether meat would spoil are rather silly since wide-spread, in-home refrigeration (as well as cable TV) actually did exist in the 1950s.

So eat your turkey sandwiches this Friday and give great thanks to a merciful God for all that we have to be thankful for. And, while you're at it, thank and pray for Pope Pius XII before you dive into that turkey, that he may be canonized a saint soon.

Also, there will be no posting of souls for the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society this week. All souls sent in will be posted next week.

A reminder on how to enroll souls: please email me at and submit as follows: "name, state, country." If you want to enroll entire families, simply write in the email: "The Jones family, Rome, Italy". Individual names are preferred. Be greedy -- send in as many as you wish and forward this posting to friends as well.

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  1. Anonymous3:27 PM

    What is the legal status of this indult? Has it been abrogated by the later, fuzzier rules about Friday penance?

  2. Cruise the Groove4:02 PM

    Great to hear this, Thank you!

    We will be having a goose this Thanksgiving, and I will be cooking it, Yikes!
    So it will be nice to enjoy a goose sandwich this Friday.

    [any tips on cooking goose?]

  3. Anonymous4:23 PM

    Anon, I am told the indult still stands today, and I know sites like Fisheaters and recent SSPX calendars still point out the indult. I'll take the SSPX at their word on moral/legal matters every time.

    Cruise, just make sure not to overcook it, and keep all the fat to fry things in afterwards, like french fries. Goose and duck fat makes EVERYTHING taste better.

  4. Anonymous5:07 PM

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at Rorate Caeli! This weblog is one of the things I'm thankful to God for.


  5. Anonymous5:21 PM

    Since in the US we may now substitute some other act for penance, does this indult remove the need for any penitential act or just from the need to abstain from meat?

  6. Whurlyburke5:21 PM

    LOL! Indult Shmindult! I'm eating my turkey sandwich on Friday.

  7. Cruise the Groove said...

    [any tips on cooking goose?]

    I tried this last Christmas, and it turned out well:

    Living the UK, I'll be sticking to my usual cheese sarnies on Friday...

  8. Anonymous5:49 PM

    I have witnessed some SSPXers in the U.S. objecting to the American Thanksgiving because it is Protestant in origin. Apparently they are more Catholic than Pope Pius XII!

    You say there was “cable TV” in the 1950s. Please give an example. I know of no such service during that era.

  9. You say there was “cable TV” in the 1950s. Please give an example. I know of no such service during that era.

    Cable television was invented soon after WWII in order to bring television to remote areas as well as areas where reception was poor. A community would share a very large antenna from which cable would be run to individual homes.

  10. Anonymous6:12 PM

    Anon1 said: "Since in the US we may now substitute some other act for penance, does this indult remove the need for any penitential act or just from the need to abstain from meat?"

    There would be no poenitential act needed because, under the 1917 Code, you couldn't substitute for the meat abstinence. So we're off the hook completely, I'm told, for Friday.

    Anon2 said: "You say there was 'cable TV' in the 1950s. Please give an example. I know of no such service during that era."

    In 1948, several men in different parts of the country pioneered the cable TV concept. In Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, John Walson opened an appliance store and began selling the latest technological marvel....televisions. However, the closest TV station was 90 miles away, in Philadelphia, so reception was almost non-existant. Walson built an antenna on nearby New Boston Mountain to catch the TV signals, and ran a wire down to his store for the signal to travel on. In this way, he was able to demonstrate his product. Along the way, he wired up his neighbors' homes, and thus was born the first documented cable system. Ed Parsons in Astoria, Oregon and Robert Tarleton in Lansford, Pennsylvania started similar systems at around the same time.

    During the 1950s, cable companies sprang up all across the country, usually in rural areas and small towns. Cable had many advantages over broadcast TV: it was more reliable, it could carry more channels, and it gave a clearer picture than the on-air networks. In addition, cable was often the only way that people in rural or remote areas could get decent (or any) TV reception.

  11. Anonymous said...
    "I have witnessed some SSPXers in the U.S. objecting to the American Thanksgiving because it is Protestant in origin. Apparently they are more Catholic than Pope Pius XII!"

    BALONEY!!! Many of us who assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass confected by the SSPX and send our children to their schools celebrate Thanksgiving and thank God for this great Order of Priests who confect the Holy Sacrifice everyday AND on Thanksgiving Day!


    With prayer I start the Thanking Day
    At dawn I kneel, Te Deum pray.
    I dress for Mass then wake a son,
    He'll serve the priest a chosen one.

    A hushed low Mass right after Matins,
    Our Lord above all sons' gold patens.
    He'll lay upon my wicked tongue,
    I pray forgive amidst among

    Where in the pew with head bowed low,
    I give Him thanks
    'til time to go
    Back to the world with sin so murky,
    But now I've strength... stuff that turkey!

    A happy and holy Thanksgiving to all! God bless!

  12. Tacitus7:19 PM

    Let me recommend turkey enchiladas after Thanksgiving. It adds some nice variety to the inevitable 3-4 day period of turkey leftovers. God Bless Pius XII--I don't feel like making a special meatless meal the day after Thanksgiving!

  13. Anonymous7:50 PM

    I didn't even know about this indult. Thanks.

    I abstain from meat every Friday as I'm sure most here do. But my understanding of the post-conciliar US Church is that the requirement to do so under pain of sin was terminated. In addition, there exists only an "urging" for Catholics to do some form of penance on Friday, which does not include the pain of sin if you do not comply.

    Is that correct?

  14. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I do not remember an indult from Pope Pius XII before Vatican II. I do seem to remember that we were absolved from the obligation to obstain from eating meat on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. But it was announced from the pulpit as a dispensation by our diocesan bishop. This is the first time I can recall hearing it was from Pope Pius XII. If it is true, does it carry over to later ponticates until rescinded?

    A.M. LaPietra

  15. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Whilst I am a strong supporter of the traditional abstinence from meat on Fridays - the fact of the matter is that the current discipline of the Church (no matter how slack it be thought to be) - is that it is licit for the faithful to substitute another act of penance on a Friday for meat abstinence. When I last checked, the 1917 Code of Canon Law had been replaced by the 1984 (?)code and is no longer in effect.

    Hence the indult of Pius XII - or any other US Bishop way back when - apropos an indult to eat meat on Friday after Thanksgiving would appear supremely irrelevant; any present day indult would presumably need to dispense from the need to do an act of penance, at all.

    Of course, one could always just say a rosary for the Holy Souls next Friday before tucking into one's turkey sanger (ie sandwich!) - and with a clear conscience.

    Fr Zuhlsdorf has posted his response here


    Tony from Oz

  16. Anonymous4:35 PM

    That wasn't much of a response given he simply said he didn't know if it was still in effect.

    I'll trust the SSPX, the FSSP and countless others that believe the dispensation still exists.

  17. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Particular and proper laws, such as indults, must be specifically repealed, not just generically. The type of decree being repealed must, at least, be mentioned. So the indult, if such there is, would still be in force.

    That being said, I find it abhorrent that "traditional" Catholics, or Catholics of any kind, would want to make use of the indult, and likely commit a second sin of gluttony. We ought to have our minds fixed on things above, not on what is below.

    The lack of desire to do more difficult things is one reason why there are nearly no saints in America (and elsewhere).

  18. Oh, Anonymous, I find it abhorrent, to rather tongue in cheekily use your word, that you would assume that Catholics who made use of the this indult, as I intend to go do in approximately one minute, would be doing so out of gluttony instead of out of thanksgiving.

    "to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." 1 Timothy 4:3

    Although Paul was probably speaking about the gnostics, who the footnote says forbade all meat, I gladly apply the positive implication to the present situation: today meat is not forbidden by my Mother, the Church; therefore, throwing your strange remonstrance about gluttony to the wind (I'm empty, not intemperate on food!), I go to enjoy in a lawful fashion a good creature that God made to be received with thanksgiving and sanctified by prayer.

  19. Anonymous7:49 PM

    Dear TotusTuusMaria,

    What you say is all well and good, but the fact of the matter is that many Catholics just want another chance to overindulge their own passions.

    Moreover, if your motivation in eating meat on Friday is truly one of "thanksgiving", you can easily be thankful eating turkey on Saturday, instead.

    Holy Mother Church commands us to do penance, under pain of grave sin, on all Fridays of the year which are not 1st Class Feasts (Solemnities). The normal means of doing so is by abstinence from flesh meat and meat by-products, including animal fat used in soups. If you do not abstain, according to the indult of Paul VI for the US, you are obliged under pain of mortal sin to perform another major act of penance, such as an extra Rosary, or the Stations of the Cross, or reading of Sacred Scripture for 30 minutes.

    I doubt that the real motivation for some in eating meat on Friday is not "thankfulness", despite the abuse of the Scriptural passage, but rather the desire to do something which is normally forbidden. This would be a wrong motivation, indeed.

    I still encourage you to take the better course.

  20. Anonymous1:29 PM

    you can easily be thankful eating turkey on Saturday, instead.

    In the Latin Church, Friday abstinence traditionally extends into Saturday, and this is still the recommended practice. In the United States, there was an indult allowing meat to be eaten on Saturday.

    I would remind you that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is often the First Sunday of Advent.

    Don't get me started on the laxity of modern ascetical praxis in this penitential season.

    It seems like Holy Mother Church knew what she was doing when she gave Americans a leftover indult for the Friday after Thanksgiving.


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