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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Update on the 40 days of Lent

Canisius | 01 March, 2006 00:30

In a previous post I offered a bit from Dom Gueranger on why we speak of the "forty days of Lent". At the point where I wrote that, I had missed the fact that Jimmy Akin had already heard some of the same points from his readers, and commented on them here.

There Jimmy pretty much makes his point that in current Church law Sundays of Lent are penitential days, which throws a kink into the reasoning that Lent minus Sundays = 40 days. So here I have to be open about something that I glossed in my previous post: in Gueranger's account, the 40 days were 40 days of fasting. It's true that the Church has dropped the fasting from 40 days to 2, so the phrase "forty days of Lent" is less coherent now than it used to be.

That said, Jimmy's focus is entirely on Church law. He brushes aside objections about universal customs as not relevant to what he is talking about. But if we combine our knowledge of Church law with our knowledge of the ancient and ongoing custom of lightening up on Sundays, then we can still speak about "forty days of Lent" and have something exact and objective in mind. True, the phrase is no longer applicable as a legal description, but neither is it merely "poetic language".


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