Who Do You Love More: God or Chocolate?

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On Wednesday, devout Catholics will be faced with a difficult
choice. Do they commit to the commencement of Lent with Ash
Wednesday, a day set aside for fasting, self-reflection, and
sacrifice? Or do they celebrate St. Valentine’s Day and dine on
wine, chocolate, and decadent meats with their SO? Tough
choice.

The New York Times
reports
that this is the first time the holidays have
aligned since 1945, and singles may think they have it bad, but
consider how it feels to be Catholic, partnered, and lectured
to forgo special treats when you already have a reservation at
Peter Luger’s Steak House. You’d think there might be some
leniency and understanding from the pulpit, but you’d be wrong.

Sermons and blog posts from Catholic priests on restraining
yourself in the candy aisle of CVS abound. One example comes
from Cardinal Dolan, the archbishop of New York, who the
NYT describes as having a reputation as the “most
jovial of American bishops.” (Guess they didn’t talk to him
when he was covering up
sex crimes
.)

“Ash Wednesday has precedence, and the coincidence of St.
Valentine’s Day would not lift for us the duty of fasting and
self-denial,” he wrote in a
blog post
on Monday.

“St. Valentine willingly bows to this Sacred Heart, for which
even he lovingly gave his life 18 centuries ago,” Cardinal
Dolan wrote, in a reference to the martyrdom of St. Valentine
in the third century.

Dolan told reporters, ““Why don’t we do an act of charity for
somebody else? Why don’t we do an act of penance for one
another as a sign of our love?”

Nothing sounds more romantic and hot than “penance.” One way
around it is that fasting for Catholics means eating one large
meal and two smaller ones that add up to less than usual. Sort
of like the Slimfast diet. So, eat a Nutribar for breakfast and
lunch, dine out at dinner. And there’s no rule against roses
until Palm Sunday.

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