Catholics Consider Just Giving Up For Lent

March 2, 2022

CHICAGO — As Catholics around the city celebrate Ash Wednesday, many are still deciding what to give up for Lent, the forty day penitential preparation for Easter. Citing worldwide strife, a continuing pandemic, and economic downturn, many Catholics are deciding to just give up for Lent.

“Most people choose to give up a vice like alcohol, sugar or sports betting for lent,” said Father Oscar Rivera, 53, “as a way to show Jesus ‘I’m not addicted, I can quit anytime I want.’ I’m getting more and more questions from my congregation about just giving up completely for Lent. Really just saying ‘fuck it.’ Personally I say go for it. It’s easier than giving up sports betting, let me tell you.”

“Yeah, I decided I’m definitely giving up for Lent,” said Marc Devinson, 36, who described his job as “who cares, just some dumb bullshit.” “For the next forty days I’m just going to take off my pants, sit here on my couch, and enter a sort of ‘despair stasis.’ Probably not even going to wash the ashes off my forehead. What’s the point? We’re all ashes one day. Fuck.”

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Around the city, Catholics who have already chosen to give up are throwing themselves into worship, canceling plans, skipping showers, and allowing “are you still watching?” notifications from streaming services to linger on their screens for hours at a time while they stare, unblinking.

“Last year I gave up meat,” said Claire Lawson, 28, who asked to be interviewed while laying face-down on her apartment floor, “and I think I might do that again this year, but by just giving up eating entirely. And moving. And talking.” 

The interview abruptly ended there, as Lawson would only respond with a low, extended groan to all further questions.

“I think it’s very Christ-like to give up for Lent,” said Father Rivera, “it is thought that Christ’s forty day fast in the wilds before taking up his ministry was a massive depressive episode. Some biblical scholars believe he spent the time staring at the ground for hours and wrote several heartfelt poems he would later read and regret.” 

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