A meaty debate over Friday abstinence

Some readers thought there was something fishy about my Nov. 25 column on Friday abstinence, while others had a beef with me for promoting its return.

To recap, I had reported on a speech made by Cardinal Timothy Dolan to an assembly of U.S. bishops earlier in the month, when he suggested that they might consider a return to the Friday abstinence. This news inspired comments. Lots of comments.

Those most opposed to the idea of any return to meatless Friday were clearly scarred by the hot dogs of their youth and assumed that such a return would come with the penalty of mortal sin if one ignored the prohibition. Unhelpfully, one of the pro-abstinence people mocked such concerns as effeminate, suggesting that more manly Church leaders would be willing to consign people to hell for violating the prohibition.