First, I should say that it is great (and to be encouraged) to practice abstinence and/or some other suitable penance on Fridays voluntarily. However, with all due respect to all bishops of the world, I do not think that abstinence (or any specific penance) should be mandatory every week. While I respect the authority of the Church, and presume they were well meaning, I am disappointed by the recent decision of the English bishops to require weekly abstinence. The problem I see with requiring specific penances is that, while I observe abstinence from meat on Friday as a regular habit, sometimes important family a personal special occasions (e.g. holidays, birthdays, or other family traditions) unavoidably fall on Friday. So, while regular penance is necessary, I think it also important to the have the option to make an occasional exception to the rule (without sin).