Yet it's still a day when even the diet-conscious make pancakes, and we should be grateful for the teaching opportunity this survival gives us but, sadly, even those in the 'catholic' tradition (there are a few of us left within Anglicanism - for a couple more Lenten seasons anyway) don't rush to join the queue to be 'shriven.'
Still, it's not all doom and gloom and inevitable decline; as we know, there are some very welcome signs of renewal around, and evidence of a growing desire to see a 're-enchantment' of Christian life and culture.
And after the pancakes, tomorrow we begin the penance of Lent with ashes, either sprinkled on our heads (I understand that was the custom when the Latin rite clergy were tonsured) or, inscribed as a cross on our foreheads.
There's a superb article [here] by Fr George Rutler - "Why we need Lent." (Thanks to the NLM)
Required reading for all of us as the Church's springtime begins.