Friday Abstinence Dispensation

I recently came across this fascinating snippet from the past: back in the 1960s, when companies were still trying to respect their clients’ religious beliefs instead of downplay or ignore them, Trans World Airlines (TWA) petitioned the Holy See for a dispensation from the Friday Abstinence (from eating meat) Rules for its Catholic passengers. (It received the dispensation.) This was because it would have been too complex for the airline to prepare a special in-flight menu just for Catholics and just for Fridays. So their solution was: see how to respond to the needs of Catholics while respecting their rules. Nowadays, I’m afraid the response would be more like, “We’re sorry you Catholics feel that way, but we’re not changing a thing!”

I would provide a screen shot of the article, but they have copyright notices on it and they seem like they mean it. So I will link to it instead. See the archived article HERE.

Keep in mind: those were also the days when airlines served real meals, cooked on board!

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5 Responses to Friday Abstinence Dispensation

  1. rkwmccoy says:

    Great blog Father, but its easy to abstain on the airlines these days when nothing is served. Fortunately water is still available. Peace and blessings.

  2. Mary Cameron says:

    Public schools often served toasted cheese sandwiches on Fridays to accommodate us.
    Also in the 50’s or 60’s, one company introduced “TUNIES”, a tuna fish hot dog for Friday consumption. Now that was a penance.

    i remember that there was a dispensation for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US, too.
    But there was no dispensation for Christmas Eve. So we ate clam chowder, etc. while others partied!

  3. Anne says:

    Now airlines offer a meatless choice–not for Catholics but for those who demand a vegetarian option. No one wants to offend them right?

  4. Analda Anglin says:

    Extremely interesting – someone told me a few years ago that the US Bishops (not the Vatican) did away with the meat-specific Friday abstinence requirement because of airline complaints. This article shows otherwise.

    It’s also interesting to note that the dispensation applied only to TWA passengers!

  5. Roy Kroc could not understand why there was always a drop in sales on Fridays and that it happened in certain parts of the country on a greater basis than others. Someone told him about the Friday abstinence of Catholics. Kroc went to work and out came McDonalds Filet-o-Fish sandwich and business went back up.

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