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Out of the question

27 February 2015

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or would like to add to the answers below.


Your answers

Should we stop calling Lent a fast, now that true fasting is rare?

Most effectively this is what Common Worship enables us to do, because Lent is no longer presented simply as a long and rigorous fast. The 1662 Prayer Book's "Table" that designated all forty days of Lent to be "days of fasting or abstinence" has been replaced by "Days of Discipline and Self-Denial", which cover the weekdays of Lent.

Discipline and self-denial can embrace many practices besides fasting and abstinence, and their observance is left to individuals to work out. The Proper Prefaces take up these keynote themes, giving thanks for "the spirit of discipline that we may triumph over evil . . ."; and when "fasting" is mentioned in the Extended Preface, it is closely linked with "prayer and acts of service".

The collect for Lent 1 no longer seeks grace to use "abstinence" in the narrower sense to subdue the flesh, but "to discipline ourselves in obedience to thy Spirit".

Traditional fasting, rare as it may, be, remains a time-honoured practice in Lent, but other disciplines of self-denial which find expression in practical and outward-going ways give an even greater sense of reality to this season of preparation.

(Canon) Terry Palmer
Magor, Monmouthshire

Your questions

Members of our PCC are anxious over the behaviour of our incumbent, who demonstrates what appear to be symptoms of early dementia. This might simply be tiredness or depression, but is there any way this matter could be resolved?

Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


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