PISCATAWAY, NJ - The Rev. James Checchio, Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen  has announced an abrupt and radical departure from the teachings of the Catholic Church - the faithful are permitted to eat meat on Fridays during the remainder of the Lenten season - except for Good Friday, April 10.

The Bishop said he granted the dispensation because of all the sacrifices being made in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The dispensation will apply today, March 26 and April 3. Easter will be celebrated this year on April 12. Easter is a high Holy Day on the Catholic calendar, celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Traditionally, Catholics pledge to refrain from indulgences - certain foods, sweets, profanity or bad habits as a sacrifice during the Lenten season.

Checchio posted his message on Twitter:

"Given the difficulty of obtaining some types of food and the many other sacrifices we are suddenly experiencing given the coronavirus, I have granted a dispensation from abstaining from meat on Fridays for rest of Lent except Good Friday which is universal law."

Bishops in other dioceses across the country have granted similar dispensation.

The Diocese of Metuchen is one of five in New Jersey, with nearly 600,000 Catholics in Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Warren counties.