Baseball and hot dogs just go together.

The combination is an endless American tradition.

But leaders of the Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, don’t seem to care. And it wouldn’t be a big deal if they hadn’t already made an exception over this year’s Lenten season.

The Pittsburgh Archdiocese is making headlines Friday morning because it is not giving dispensation to Catholics attending the Pittsburgh Pirates home opener who wish to have a hot dog. Fridays during Lent in the Catholic Church are usually reserved for abstinence from meat — unless the church issues dispensation — in layman’s terms, a “free pass.” 

Such an action was made worldwide throughout the Catholic Church March 17 in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The feast day is often celebrated by having corned beef and cabbage. It’s an immense tradition in Ireland and has spread across the globe. It fell on a Friday during Lent this year so the church granted a “free pass” to those who wanted to have the meal that day.

Every time March 17 falls on a Friday during Lent, the church issues dispensation because it’s a tradition in countries, cultures, communities and families.

Makes sense.

But what doesn’t make sense is the Catholic Church not offering up this “free pass” for baseball home openers that are occurring today, Friday, April 7. Most specifically for the dedicated fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates who have the team’s 2023 home opener this afternoon.

They were told by the Pittsburgh Archdiocese they’re not getting a “free pass” when it comes to a hot dog at the ballpark on this Good Friday.

This is the part where I note I am a Catholic and am standing in unity with Pittsburgh fans although my team is their NL Central Division rival — the St. Louis Cardinals.

Baseball is an undeniable American tradition and part of that tradition is having a hot dog at the ballpark. And if the Catholic Church is going to grant dispensation for a cultural tradition like corned beef and cabbage on a Lenten-Friday St. Patrick’s Day, the same should be done for the cultural tradition of eating a hot dog at a baseball game — Lenten-Friday or Good Friday, it shouldn’t matter. Hashtag: DoubleStandard.

“We wish the Pirates well, and we will be rooting for them with all of Pittsburgh. But we also need to hold to the priority importance of Good Friday,” the Pittsburgh Archdiocese said in a statement report by the Pittsburgh Tribune. “It is an essential part of the most sacred time of year for all Christians. Nothing should take precedence.”

Nothing takes precedence? Well apparently corned beef and cabbage does.

As a Catholic, I get it. No meat on Friday’s during Lent is part of the faith, but if there’s going to be a “free pass” for one cultural tradition, another should be issued for other cultural traditions that fall on a Friday this time of year.

The church or someone could try and justify that St. Patrick’s Day is a Catholic feast day to honor the saint and that’s grounds for dispensation, but let’s not skip over the fact that there’s a feast day for a Catholic saint almost every day.

And let’s be honest, if any of us Catholics are sent southward after we die, it isn’t going to be because we snuck in a hot dog at PNC Park or any other baseball stadium on a Lenten-Friday.

Isn’t there enough guilt in the Catholic Church? I mean God forbid if we miss a Sunday mass or if a baby is conceived out of wedlock or if someone comes out as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I was always taught that’s a one way ticket to Hell in the Catholic schools I attended Kindergarten though high school. Why should additional feelings of guilt be put on practicing Catholics over an item that in itself has questionable “meat” content? 

This is an area where the Catholic Church needs to adapt to changing times. You want to keep the no meat on Friday’s during Lent going, fine. But there has to be acceptance to those who believe otherwise in regard to tradition or an event like having grandpa’s favorite meal that includes meat on a Lenten-Friday when the day of his death falls on that day. The same applies to a baseball game.

Another example is that pregnant women and their supportive husbands (at least that’s what I was told) can have meat on Friday’s during Lent via dispensation for the health of the mother and unborn child. So “no meat on Lenten-Friday’s” does have its fair share loopholes.

A lot of these ancient rules need to be re-evaluated. In my opinion, the Catholic Church not letting go of or at least changing “old school” practices and rules is what’s making people leave the church for another denomination or just forego church all together.

And if I may make another example with confession, honestly what’s the difference between telling a priest that you lied, ran a stop sign, or checked out one of the soccer moms as opposed to saying your prayers and telling God you’re sorry?

Pittsburgh Pirates fans, go to the game. Enjoy yourselves, and have hot dog — you’re going to be just fine.


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *