In late February, countless Christians pledged to give up vices like alcohol, chocolate and Netflix for the duration of Lent.What they didn’t know was that in the coming weeks, they’d also be giving up social gatherings, concerts, televised sports, eating in restaurants and virtually every other aspect of ordinary life.As the novel coronavirus has given new meaning to a season of self-sacrifice, some faith leaders are granting worshipers a pass from traditional Lenten rituals. On Thursday, Bishop James F. Checchio, whose diocese in New Jersey includes about 600,000 Catholics, announced that he was waiving the requirement to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. Both the food shortages in grocery stores and the fact that people were already sacrificing so much had factored into his decision, he wrote, adding that meat was still off-limits for Good Friday.From the Bishop’s Desk: “I have granted a dispensation from abstaining from meat on Fridays for the rest of Lent, except Good Friday which is universal law. ” – Most Rev. James F. Checchio, Bishop of Metuchen pic.twitter.com/Lwr1GBso6n— Diocese of Metuchen (@diocesemetuchen) March 26, 2020 Catholic dioceses from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh to Houma-Thibodaux, La., have issued similar decrees over the past week. In Louisiana, Bishop


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