The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Mardi Gras

Canisius | 28 February, 2006 04:26

Dom Gueranger makes a great point in IV, 182. He's a bit reluctant about the parties before Lent, because he knows that we need a kind of psychological momentum going into Ash Wednesday which can be disrupted by a sudden emergence in worldliness. Nonetheless, even though a lot of folks take the Mardi Gras thing to excess, getting drunk, committing other sins--still, there's a legitimate kind of fond farewell to everyday life that has a place on the day before Lent begins. But a lot of Catholics claim a dispensation from the fasts required on certain days, and have another reason why they shouldn't abstain from meat, and another reason why they can't do this or that penance, until Lent pretty much looks like ordinary life. So what meaning can there possibly be in their feast-making at Mardi Gras?

It reminded me of Mass this past Sunday. The elderly priest presiding gave the distinct impression in his homily that Catholics are obliged to fast every day of Lent. (Not so, of course--just Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.) After his impassioned homily about the need to give up this and that, fast, and whathaveyou, the lector got up to read the announcements: "On Fridays during Lent there will be a fish fry from 4:00 to 6:00; please join us!"

The old priest didn't look happy. I didn't blame him!


Comment Icon Mardi Gras Party

Philip | 01/03/2006, 03:08

It seems that there is no meaning other than to have a good time. It is just another example of how Catholics don't know why they do what they do. I remember, as a young boy, looking forward to Fridays because we got to go to the really great batter fried fish restaurant! It certainly wasn't a penance!
From this viewpoint, I would imagine that if the Church abolished Lent, there would still be Mardi Gras celebrations.

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