Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday abstinence

The restoration by the Bishops of Friday abstinence from meat, which comes into force today, is a welcome return to traditional practice. It will make no real difference to me, as I have consistently observed this custom for upwards of thirty years both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, and made a point of eating meat on those Solemnities which do fall on Fridays to emphasise the point to myself. I think that many of my friends have done the same. Anyway I really like fish, though of course eating it on Fridays is not obligatory for those who do not, which is the sort of silly claim a few have tried to make.

Now that the Bishops have undone the wrong signal sent out in 1984 in this respect let us hope and, indeed, pray that the rumours we hear of them requesting the restoration of the transferred Days of Obligation to their proper days will also come to pass.

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