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Friday, February 22, 2013

Christian fasting purely westernized



As far as the Eastern Church is concerned, the fasting concept that has been followed by the entire Catholic Church is purely a western concept. As part of Catholic Church’s inculturation policy, Eastern Church should have adopted a new method of fasting long back, in terms of the intake of the food items during the fasting periods. 

As far as the lenten seasons and fasting are concerned, 25 days fasting in preparation for Christmas and 50 days fasting in preparation for Easter, the Catholics abstain from non-vegetarian food items. For the Western Catholics, non-vegetarian food is their main food and as part of their fasting they abstain from non-vegetarian food items whereas for the Eastern Catholics their main food is not non-vegetarian food items.

It is the pure evidence of western dominance over the Catholic Church. The Christian fasting is said to be purely westernized because, out of its 120 cores of believers major chunk of believers are from western countries. The geography, culture and the climate made the non-vegetarian food items so essentials in their food menu therefore, they can’t live without them. In order to ward against the extreme cold climate, the westerners need to eat non-vegetarian food items which would keep them warm.

But when it comes to Eastern Church, its natural features, culture, climate never force people in the territory to have non-vegetarian food items in stead it is less needed for the people of the region. The extreme hot climate prevailing here in this topographical area would make the conception of non-vegetarian food items increasingly difficult.

The major chunk of Eastern Church Catholics is constituted by Christians from Kerala therefore; Eastern Church is represented by Christians from Kerala and the main food of Kerala Christians is rice and rice dishes therefore, Kerala Christians should abstain from rice and rice dishes during the fasting days, they being the main food item of Kerala Christians.

Non-vegetarian food items such as; chicken, pork, mutton and beef are never the main food items of Eastern Christians, Kerala Christians, and they do not have them that frequent so what is the point of abstaining from the food items which are not part of their daily list of options. The same food items which are forbidden for Western Catholic are kept forbidden for the Eastern Catholics as well, due to the western supremacy in the church.  

Fasting means उप्वास (upvas), which means 'to be with' therefore, in complete sense fasting means to be with God.  Abstinence in its purest sense is to refrain from things which we are so obsessed with or the things that we love the most, not just abstaining from a few food items that the majority of the religious group refrains from having. Our fasting should keep us closer to God than an exhibition of spiritual exercises.             


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