MANILA, Feb. 12, 2015—The Archdiocese of Manila (RCAM) has decided to grant “Tsinoy” (Filipino-Chinese) and Chinese Catholics in its episcopal jurisdiction dispensation (exemption) from the obligation of fasting and abstinence from the afternoon of Feb. 18,“Ash Wednesday”, until midnight in view of the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, its “cultural and spiritual importance and the traditional practices associated with it”.
In a circular dated Feb. 6, Manila Archbishop Luís Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle notes that this year the eve of the Lunar New Year coincides with Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, during which Catholics are obliged to observe fasting and abstinence.
The prelate, however, stresses those who will avail of the dispensation “must engage in some other forms of penance, acts of mercy and charity, especially to the poor and those who suffer, in keeping with the penitential spirit of the season of Lent”.
According to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation in certain cases. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)