The Bishop’s Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei decided in 2007, that abstaining from meat will no longer be the only expression of this ancient tradition of abstinence.
This is a change from the previous decision which required the abstaining from meat on all Fridays.
The removal of the abstinence from meat does not mean the obligation to abstain on Fridays is removed. Therefore, we may keep the old practice of abstaining from meat or change it with the following:
1.abstain some other food which we are fond of
2.abstain from alcoholic drinks, smoking
3.abstain from some form of entertainment
4.make a special effort to be involved in family prayer
5.taking part in the celebration of the Eucharist
6.spending time in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
7.praying the stations of the cross
8.fasting from all food for longer period of time than usual
9.making a special effort to help the poor, the sick, the old, the lonely
The form of abstinence can change from week to week. It is a personal choice.
Must I abstain on Fridays?
To commemorate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ annually undervalues the importance of the salvific action of Jesus Christ. One should unite oneself to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ more regularly. Failure to observe this norm does not lead one to sin and therefore there is no need to go for confession should you forget to abstain. Penance is a part of every Christian’s life and the intention to do penance on Friday is of obligation.
Who is obliged to abstain?
All those who have reached the age of 14* are required to abstain. Unlike fasting which does not apply to those who reach the age of 60, the obligation of abstinence applies even to those beyond 60. The norm of abstinence also binds those living here or in Malaysia or Brunei.