We asked some friends of this blog to tell us what they were giving up for Lent this year.
Prof. Massimo Faggioli.
When you live entirely on ice-cream, as I do, there is no food that you can reasonably give up. Likewise, my every waking moment is spent in explaining theology to less intelligent mortals by means of insights so profound that even I don't understand them; so it would be dangerous to make any changes, since civilisation would collapse without my brilliant epigrams.
Being the humblest pope who ever lived, I have no luxuries in life that I can give up. Likewise, I have no vices worth speaking of, Eccles. How dare you ask such an impertinent question! SLAP!
It is important to show self-discipline during Lent, and so I am giving up health food - salads, spinach, fruit, etc. - and sticking to a diet of giant steaks, suet, and sticky toffee pudding. It will be hard for me, but I know that this penitential regime will do me good.
Prof. Tina Beattie.
What a sexist question! By asking me that, you're implying that women are inferior to men, aren't you? Just you wait until I get ordained and you want ashes on your forehead... they'll be so hot that you'll end up with scar tissue, you pig!
Fr James Martin SJ.
I shall give up reading the Bible in Lent - I disagree with most of it, anyway. Still, I shall miss the absorbing tale of how it took a humble carpenter's son 30 years before He was able to do miracles successfully, and even then everyone misunderstood His teachings until I came along.
Dr Austen Ivereigh.
People have asked me to give up my worship of Pachamama, my idolatory of Pope Francis, and my "brain-rotting" writing. But I thank God that I am unlike other men, and have no vices worth speaking of.
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.
I am giving up tea for Lent, and indeed I am handing over my stock of Yorkshire tea to this new chap. I much prefer beer, anyway.
Prof. Richard Dawkins.
Well of course we have all outgrown the idea of Lent, as something that only religious extremists celebrate. So when I mention that, following an outcry, I have decided not to eat any human flesh from now on, this is not to be interpreted as a foolish religious fetish, but merely the wise decision of a venerable professor who is fed up with having bricks thrown through his window.
Fr Antonio Spadaro.
If 2+2 can equal 5, then the 40 days of Lent can equal 32. Thus, for the first week it isn't Lent at all, so why bother?