See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Friday, April 27, 2012

A reader asks: Is it okay to eat the skin surrounding my finernails on Friday?



Dermatophagia.

Dermatophags (wolf-biters) eat the skin around their fingernails, similar to how some people chew on their fingernails.  Can one do so on Friday?

I would have to answer yes, provided you do some other sort of penance.  The last time I checked, the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays may be substituted with another form of penance. 

Always ask your confessor or check with a diocesan authority when you have questions on Catholic discipline.

18 comments:

  1. LOL!

    Can a person eat boogers on a Friday?

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  2. Terry, you sneaked again at Fr. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ blog. LOL

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  3. Larry - I read somewhere that even meat broth was to be abstained from, altho fat was permitted (as for frying) so I think a chemical analysis would need to be done to determine an answer to your very distasteful query.

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  4. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

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  5. What if it is a day of fast? How much skin may be nibbled? May one receive Communion at Mass directly afterward? Does the Mass fast come in effect?

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    1. I was surprised masticating chewing gum is considered a fast breaker. It's the chewing of a non-nutritive substance, which is not ever really consumed, since all one ever swallows is flavored saliva - and that only up to the point the flavor dissipates.

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    2. Oh - and after the flavor dissipates it is just the oral juices one swallows.

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    3. I remember reading about some Anglicans who visited Rome in the 19th century and were horrified to observe Catholic priests (not the celebrant, presumably) chewing tobacco in the sanctuary. I don't know whether this would be considered a fast-breaker or not.

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    4. Mark - I don't think it could because it (tabacco) is not food. I'm probably wrong of course. Of course, smoking while eating has always been considered ill mannered - so I'm sure that rule could apply.

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  6. You laugh but I actually do this sometimes, as well as nibbling at the skin inside my cheek - and I HAVE wondered if I had broken the Communion fast.

    Oh, brother.

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  7. Oh darn. I do that although my primary interest is chewing the cuticles.

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  8. +JMJ+

    What does it say that I wondered this just a few Fridays ago? (I didn't know the term "dermatophagia" yet, though. So thanks, Terry.)

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    1. Strangely enough, when I was younger I used to wonder if receiving communion was like that. It isn't of course.

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  9. And what about biting it off but not swallowing it? It was already being acted on by your saliva, and I would think, at least partially ingested.

    Go right to confession and then click on the DONATE button. No Communion for you!

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  10. How many people here know that 'meat', as such, in the Medieval church was always considered to mean the flesh of quadrupeds? Two legged fowl and, presumably, human skin nibbles are not included within that meat criteria.

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    1. Robert - I actually knew that. Thanks.

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