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Washington Archbishop urges Catholics to fast

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, urged all Catholics in the archdiocese on Thursday to fast one day a week until the conflict in Afghanistan ends.

He issued his call at Mass at the Cathedral of St Matthew in downtown Washington, saying it would be an appropriate way to remember those who died in the 11 September terrorist attacks.

"I am asking all the Catholic people of the Archdiocese of Washington to fast at least once a week, one day, according to the usual norms of the church, and to continue that holy practice of mortification and penance as long as this war goes on," McCarrick said.

Spokeswoman Susan Gibbs says that means one regular meal and two small meals that don't equal a regular meal.

He left the choice of the day up to the individual, but recommended Friday, the day on which Christ died and the holy day for Muslims.