Canons 1252 and 1253 - Observance
of Fast and Abstinence
c. 1252: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
c. 1253: It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
Complementary Norm: Norms II and IV of Paenitemini (February 17, 1966) are almost identical to the canons cited. The November 18, 1966 norms of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on penitential observance for the Liturgical Year continue in force since they are law and are not contrary to the code (canon 6).
Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983
Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983
Amended: "... the age of fasting is from the completion of the twenty-first year to the beginning of the sixtieth" (Paenitemini, norm IV) is amended to read ‘... the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth' in accord with canon 97."
Promulgated: Memorandum to All Diocesan Bishops, February 29, 1984
(See On Penance and Abstinence, Pastoral Statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 18, 1966)