May 30, 2011
Catholics in England and Wales will be obliged to abstain from meat every Friday under a new rule brought by the bishops.
The "act of common witness" will take effect Sept. 16, the first anniversary of Pope Benedict's visit to Britain.
The rule reverses a relaxation of the Friday penance regulations introduced in England and Wales in 1984.
Critics have said the end of a tradition in which Catholics ate fish or eggs instead of meat on Fridays led to a loss of common identity, with many Catholics today abstaining from meat only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
The bishops decided to restore the old practice at their May 9-16 plenary meeting in Leeds.
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