Can We Eat Meat?Well, yes! Being a feast which is Double of the First Class, this feast is also a solemnity - and as such there is no fasting or abstinence to take place. Think about it, why would we "fast" or "abstain" on such a "feast day?" Note both the current Code of Canon Law and the previous agree that such fasting and abstinence ceases "days of our Lord" or "a solemnity."
Abstinence on ALL Fridays?Bear in mind, while the current Code of Canon Law does not absolutely require abstinence from meat on all Fridays - it still requires SOMETHING and first on the list is abstaining from meat - STILL. Yes, you MAY offer up some other form of penance or act of charity, as set forth by your local episcopal conference (conference of bishops), but I continue my campaign of keeping the tradition of abstaining from meat. Why do I continue to promote abstinence from meat on Fridays? First and foremost it is part of our Catholic identity! Secondly, why complicate things? While you COULD choose something else, you should be consistent in what you choose, not picking and choosing from week to week what you will offer up or do for this canonically required penance - required of ALL Catholics. Back to the subject of this article... the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a solemnity, even though it falls on a Friday (every year) the rules of fasting and/or abstinence do not apply and would actually be contrary to the law of the Church to willfully fast or abstain knowing the Church has officially recognized the day as a solemnity.
1917 Code of Canon LawCan 1252 §1. Lex solius abstinentiae servanda est singulis sextis feriis.
§2. Lex abstinentiae simul et ieiunii servanda est feria quarta Cinerum, feriis sextis et sabbatis Quadragesimae et feriis Quatuor Temporum, pervigiliis Pentecostes, Deiparae in caelum assumptae, Omnium Sanctorum et Nativitatis Domini.
§3. Lex solius ieiunii servanda est reliquis omnibus Quadragesimae diebus.
§4. Diebus dominicis vel festis de praecepto lex abstinentiae, vel abstinentiae et ieiunii, vel ieiunii tantum cessat, excepto festo tempore Quadragesimae, nec pervigilia anticipantur; item cessat Sabbato Sancto post meridiem.
Can 1252 §1. Is to be observed on every Friday, the law belongs only of abstinence.
§2. At the same time the law of abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays and Saturdays of Lent and of the Ember Days, the vigils of Pentecost, the Mother of God assumed into heaven, all the saints and of the Nativity of the Lord.
§3. The only fast observed all the remaining days of Lent.
§4. From the days of the Lord or on the feasts of obligation, law of abstinence, or of abstinence and fasting, or fasting only ceases, with the exception of the feast of the time of Lent, nor vigils anticipated; Likewise, they refrain the Holy Saturday in the afternoon.
1983 Code of Canon Law (currently in force)Can 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of MaryNot to be remiss - Saturday was also the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Originally set for August 22 (set by Pope Pius XII in 1942) it was moved to the Saturday after the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Devotion to the Sacred Heart, Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07163a.htm
1983 Code of Canon Law: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4O.HTM
1917 Code of Canon Law: http://www.jgray.org/codes/cic17lat.html
Cross-Reference Guide: http://www.jgray.org/codes/cross_reference_83_17.xls
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07168a.htm
About the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: http://www.thesacredheart.com/feastmar.htm