Question: Why is your calendar so liberal? I have one from another "traditionalist" church that has a lot more days marked with a fish [indicating abstinence from meat]. Why don't you do it the right way?
Answer: Unlike doctrines and moral teachings which never change, the Church is free to modify Its disciplinary practices in accordance with good judgement. Disciplines are man made regulations, subject to change by the men who have the authority to make them. Again, unlike doctrines and moral teachings, Church disciplines may vary from one part of the world to another.
Living, as we do, in a period of ecclesiastical anarchy, it is often difficult for traditional Catholics to decide which items of traditional discipline they should observe. The Missal is perhaps the best example of this confusion: If we are not to follow the Novus Ordo Missæ, then which liturgical book are we to use? Some insist that it must be Pope John's Missale Romanum of 1962; the last of the Tridentine missals.1 Others (often those schismatics seeking to distinguish themselves as the only "true Catholics") insist that only the exact missal issued by Pope St. Pius V on 9 July 1570 may be used. In practice, even the most rabid separatist congregation would be disturbed if their calendar failed to include modern feasts like that of Christ the King, or sanctioned only one Mass on All Souls Day, or, for that matter, failed to observe a feast of Pope St. Pius V. Practical people strike a reasonable balance.
The laws concerning fast and abstinence have changed over the years just as the missal has. Compare the 1917 Code of Canon Law with that of 1983.
The 1917 Code was, itself, a liberalization of the previous law which forbade the taking of seafood and meat in the same meal, and which required that fasting vigils the fell on Sunday be observed the day before. Saturday (and Wednesday) abstinence was more extensive.2
Between 1917 and 1983 the Holy See granted permission for various modifications of the abstinence laws for workingmen and their families, for servicemen and their families, and for dioceses to transfer the Saturday abstinence to Wednesdays. In the United States it was quite common for bishops to dispense fasting and abstinence on the more important ethnic celebrations (e.g. St. Patrick, St. Joseph) as well as on the day following Thanksgiving.
Our calendar attempts to blend all of this in a reasonable fashion, prescribing a regimen that is somewhere in between the two Codes. For those who are concerned that "there are not enough rules," it should be pointed out that anyone is free to fast and abstain every day of the year if he feels like it.