I generally identify with the tax collector in today's Gospel reading: Luke 18:9 - 14 . That's okay, since emulating "those who were convinced of their own righteousness," despising everyone else, is a bad idea. The problem wasn't what the Pharisee was doing. Fasting, within reason, is a good idea. It can be part of penance. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1434 , 1438 , 2043 ) Along with tithing , it's part of being a Catholic. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .