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Dutch Catholics label Lent the “Christian Ramadan” to encourage self-denial

.- Saying that many Holland residents are unfamiliar with Lent and its practices of self-denial, some Dutch Catholics are calling the Lenten fast the “Christian Ramadan,” the Daily Telegraph reports.

Some Catholic leaders hope that linking Lent and Ramadan will remind less observant Christians of the “spirituality and sobriety” of Lent.

The Catholic charity Vastenaktie, which holds collections for the Third World all across the Netherlands during Lent, said the liturgical season leading up to Easter needed a more relevant reference point.

"The image of the Catholic Lent must be polished. The fact that we use a Muslim term is related to the fact that Ramadan is a better-known concept among young people than Lent," said Vastenaktie Director, Martin Van der Kuil, told the Daily Telegraph.

During their month-long observance of Ramadan, Muslim believers forgo all food during the daytime and increase their prayer habits.

Catholic Lenten practices were once more ascetical than they are presently, which some attribute to changes that followed the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Van der Kuil believed the name change would highlight similarities between Christianity and Islam.

"The agreements are more striking than the differences. Both for Muslims and Catholic faithful the values of frugality and spirituality play a central role in this tradition," said Van der Kuil.

Four million Dutch describe themselves as Roman Catholics, while 400,000 attend Mass weekly.  Van der Kuil said only a few tens of thousands still mark Lent by fasting.


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Liturgical Calendar

July 22, 2014

Saint Mary Magdalene

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Mt 13:24-43

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First Reading:: Mic 7: 14-15, 18-20

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Mt 12:38-42

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