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09 February 2009


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Christy P

"We don't have a religious tradition of ordinary people's physically exerting themselves for that purpose. Now, mind you, we do have a religious tradition of physical penance, hair shirts and other sorts of self-punishment, but that's not exactly what you call widespread today, and anyway a hair shirt is not exactly what you'd call aerobic." Ah yes, but historically people were a lot more active as a part of their daily work than they are today. It's time to create a NEW tradition to fit with the way the world has evolved (can I say evolved on a Catholic blog, or should I select words more carefully and just say changed??)


"Fighting gluttony fits much more comfortably into the everyday Catholic religious context."

Interesting point. I was just talking to my sister yesterday about making a discipline for Lent be exercise related. I am thinking that any discipline can be for spiritual good and God did give us bodies to take care of. Plus, when I do something for Lent (make a promise to God) it's much harder for me to back out. I know I need to add induced exercise into my life for the longterm and Lent seems a good time to start. Very timely for me that you're discussing this!

"it is hard or even impossible to add exercise "quietly" unless you live alone."

This made me wonder if how induced exercise effects my whole family (dh and 6 kids) is part of why I've had a harder time fitting it in and sticking to it than eating healthier.



Christy, the Catholic Church has no anti-evolution teaching. Cf. a decent article here,



Sounds like Tabitha, thinking about using physical exercise as a Lenten discipline, is trying to do what Christy suggests, creating something new.

I don't know if it works to call it "creating a new tradition" -- tradition by definition is something that evolves along with and concurrently with the world it's in

And yes, I think "evolves" is exactly the appropriate word. Inventing something new to fit into the new world is rather anti-evolutionary!

But you can do a new thing in a traditional spirit. I would be trying to look to the example of other physical penances (including fasting) to see how those physical, corporeal activities were understood to act upon the spirit, or to be an act by the spirit. How does the physical act become more than physical, transcend it? How has that always ("traditionally") been understood?

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I think I read something somewhere about this

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