Days of Penance
Can. 1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.
Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252 The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast."
"Since the number of days of fast and abstinence are greatly reduced, it would be a mortal sin if someone KNOWINGLY, WILLINGLY and INTENTIONALLY ate meat on a Friday of Lent or on Ash Wednesday or ate between meals or ate more than one full meal on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday. Former manuals spoke of 4 oz or more to violate the fast as a mortal sin, less than 4 oz being venial; 2 oz of meat to violate abstinence, less for venial. Today, we do not get into the number game." http://ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage_print.asp?number=327418&language=en
I don't know if his circumstance excused him or not