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Published on Jan 24, 2009
Catherine Alexander speaks with Father Moses of Holy Resurrection Romanian Catholic Monastery in Newberry Springs, CA about fasting in the church year.
Questions Asked: 1) Food is an important part of any culture and the Church shows its understanding of this by putting food into its proper perspective on its calendar of fasts and feasts. Will you explain the Church's view of food and why we fast?
2) The current Eastern Catholic calendars are pretty far from the strictest historical calendars. It isn't uncommon to find a cradle and a convert clashing over which fasting guidelines are necessary or traditional. What role should the historical calendars play in our personal decisions?
3) There are a number of products on the market for vegetarians like soy, rice, oat and almond milk and vegetarian meats made out of mushrooms, grains, beans and soy. Using these products during fasts is very controversial, with people on one side of the debate saying they wouldn't be able to fast for whatever reason without using them and people on the other side saying these products violate the spirit of the fast. Does the Church have an opinion on using vegetarian substitutes for meat and milk?
4) If a person is a perpetual vegetarian, like a monk in the great schema or an individual who has made a life choice to not eat meat, how does that person's diet change during fasting times?
5) Father, you were born with Type 2 Diabetes. Will you please explain how medically necessary diets modify the fasts?
6) Another special consideration which I know you have a particular interest in is fasting with children. What advice do you have for parents?
7) How can individual Eastern Catholics determine the best diets for themselves and their families during the fasts?
8) Some Eastern Catholics are married to people who are not Eastern Catholic or who are not willing or able to follow the strict fasts for other personal reasons. Do you have any advice for those people on how to keep respect and equality in their marriage during the fasts while dealing with this difference?
9) What about children, adults living at home or guests? How does fasting change when you're accepting others' hospitality?
10) What responsibility do those raised in the faith have to learn about fasting and to follow the Church calendar if it wasn't part of their identity as an Eastern Catholic growing up?
11) Does the Church give us guidance on judging the appropriateness of other people's diets?
12) Is there an absolute that all Eastern Catholics must do during the fasts no matter what their life circumstances are?
13) What is the most important thing to focus on during a fast?