The Catholic tradition of fasting at Lent needs to become as ‘cool’ as the Muslim fasting peiod of Ramadan, say Dutch Catholics in today’s Volkskrant.
This year, the church is even promoting the 40-day fast as ‘the Christian Ramadan’. ‘We use the word Ramadan because it is a term young people are more likely to understand than Lent, the organisation Vastenaktie tells the paper.
It points out that after celebrating carnival (last weekend) many youngsters could do with a period of less consumption.
Until 1967, the Catholic church was as strict about the fast between Ash Wednesday and Easter as Muslims are about Ramadan, with a total ban on meat and alcohol, the paper says.
But Rome relaxed the rules for all but the first and last days of Lent.
Campaign leader Martin van der Kuil tells the paper that tens of thousands of Catholics still mark Lent by fasting, but this is just a small percentage of the 400,000 people who attend mass.
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