The Mainstream Media Get Right To The Heart of Catholicism: To Eat Meat On Saint Patrick's Day Or Not?
It's amazing, really. What bothers the Catholic conscience in America? Abortion, contraception, assisted-suicide, same sex-marriage, cohabitation before marriage, sexual promiscuity, dismal weekly mass attendance, attacks on Religious Liberty? Nope. As the media would have it, troubled Catholic consciences only seek episcopal counsel for dispensation to eat meat whenever St. Patrick's day falls on a Friday in Lent.
Corned beef (salted beef) is actually not a national dish of Ireland, but rather of the American Irish. Native Irish could not consume beef because of it high cost. The British confiscation of the best Irish pastureland to produce beef for export to England forced the Irish to turn to potato farming on the less productive land left for their use. This had tragic consequences for the Irish during the potato blight. Whatever beef not consumed by the British themselves was preserved as corned beef to help feed the vast numbers of slaves being captured and transported throughout the world by the colonial powers. On this side of the Atlantic, corned beef was cheap. When the Irish immigrants arrived they took to eating this luxury meat (of slaves)they couldn't afford in Ireland.
It would be a truly praiseworthy practice, for American Catholics to have a meatless St. Patrick's day when it falls on Friday in Lent, rather than appeal to their bishops for dispensations. Think about the courage of St. Patrick, an escaped slave who returned to face his pagan captors with no army or weapon save the power of the Cross of Christ.
It doesn't look like a Friday Lenten St. Patrick's Day occurs again until 2023, so perhaps there's time to plan for our Meatless St. Patrick Day Celebrations then?