Can one be a Catholic and a vegan at the same time?


I had a discussion with a colleague at work the other day and the question came up if one can be a vegan and still participate in Holy Communion without violating the I don’t eat meat rule.
I know that there are all kinds of vegetarian (I read someones post who claimed to be a vegetarian but ate bacon), that is why I chose vegan as example. The core of the question is: Does the transubstatiated body of Christ count as meat?

Thanks for considering this.


Well, what are the person’s reasons for being vegan?

-To avoid harming animals? Christ is not harmed in the Eucharist.

-To avoid true or imagined health effects of meat? The physical body only recognizes the accidents, which are identical to those of bread and wine.

Any other reasons?


Oh good grief this has to take the cake.

Jesus said, “Take this BREAD and eat it, this is my body which is given up for you”

Jesus did not cut his arm off and say here eat me.

It is bread, so no it would not be considered eating meat.

The actual substance is still bread. That bread becomes Jesus in a form and dimension that is beyond what we as humans can touch or feel physically.


Well said Mike! I can’t imagine there being even a hesitation to consider whether or not it would be worth going to hell because you don’t eat meat. :eek:

While on this subject I will share an anecdote.
My friend’s young son once said of intinction that he “likes it when they dip the ear into the blood” :smiley:

I nearly fell out of my chair. “Out of the mouths of babes” eh?



With respect, the substance is no longer bread. The accidents of the bread and wine remain, but as Catholics, we are obligated to believe that in every way that matters it is the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, under the strictest interpretation, it is in fact eating meat. However, under this strict interpretation, it is also cannibalism since Jesus’ body is a human (though transfigured) body.

To address the original question, I would say that just as certain orders of Monks that abstain from meat (for example, the trappists) make an exception for the eucharist so a vegan can. After all the normal objections vegans normally have to eating meat would not apply to communion.



I am sorry I have to disagree with on one point. I totally agree that it is Jesus body and blood, but it is still bread and not meat as we understand meat to be.

It is still “Take this BREAD and eat it.” Jesus called it “bread”

It is not like one is eating a steak “Medium Rare”

I don’t see Jesus as merely being a piece of meat, if you think that way there is something wrong.


McHale, thanks for the pointer to the trappist monks. So you would say a trappist is akin to the vegetarian that makes an exception for bacon?


Bacon is meat. Can you say the same about the resurrected body of Christ? In fact, what do any of us really know about the makeup of his resurrected body?


No, since if it were, we would be forbidden to receive Holy Communion on Fridays, especially the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday - and also on Ash Wednesday.

Since we are in fact encouraged to receive Holy Communion on those days (there is even an Indulgence for those who can manage to receive Holy Communion on nine First Fridays in a row) this would seem to suggest that the Eucharist is not “meat” in the ordinary sense of that word.


First of all, it’s hard to imagine someone being vegan and Catholic. A vegan makes a conscious decision that eating meat is evil, which clearly contradicts the very words of God:

5 I was in the city of Joppe praying, and I saw in an ecstasy of mind a vision, a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners, and it came even unto me.

6 Into which looking, I considered, and saw fourfooted creatures of the earth, and beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air:

7 And I heard also a voice saying to me: **Arise, Peter; kill and eat. **

8 And I said: Not so, Lord; for nothing common or unclean hath ever entered into my mouth.

9 And the voice answered again from heaven: What God hath made clean, do not thou call common.

10 And this was done three times: and all were taken up again into heaven.

Now, of course the main issue of the passage refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles in the plan of salvation. But at the same time, God would not command Peter to commit a sin by eating meat, even if it were an allegorical statement! I mean, you don’t get much more explicit than, “Arise Peter; kill and eat.”

Therefore anyone who holds that eating meat is morally wrong, is already outside of the Church, in which case, they should not be receiving Communion, so the question of whether or not the flesh of Christ causes a vegan to commit a “vegan sin” is the least of that person’s problems.


Check your Scripture. Jesus did not say “Take this BREAD and eat it.” He said:
Matthew 26:26 "Take, eat; this is My Body."
Mark 14:22 "Take; this is My Body."
Luke 22:19 “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In handing them something and telling them to take and eat, Jesus calls it one thing only - His “Body”. He never refers to it as bread.

The dogmatic teaching of the Church is that the “substance” (a philosophical term) of bread has been changed into the substance of Jesus’ risen glorified body - although the “accidents” (another philosophical term) remain those of bread.



I agree. Many vegans are really pagans who are animal worshippers to some degree. Obviously, eating meat is not morally wrong. God allows the consumption of meat/fish, and He is the only moral source. Many vegans fall under 1 Tim 4:3 by forbidding certain foods as if they were not good morally.

Health reasons or general ascetisim (Trappist monks, etc.) are a different category, so long as they don’t consider eating meat morally wrong.

This disposes of the Eucharist. However, since Christ is sacramentally present, it is not like eating meat literally (cannibalism.) This is also another cannibalism attack on the Eucharist.


Inhabitants of the Vegan stellar system, (i.e. the planets revolving around the star Vega) are known as Vegans. But they may eat meat.


The real question is why anyone would want to be a vegan.


These replies are mostly in jest, right? You’re not actually passing judgment on people because they’re vegetarians. Poor St. Francis of Assisi, what would he think?:smiley:

Seriously, didn’t Saint Paul already address this issue in his letter to the Romans?

“One person believes that one may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him.” Romans 14:2-3

BTW I definitely fall into the “does not abstain” category.


Not all vegans think eating meat is evil – OK, my spouse is an ovo-lacto-pisca-vegetarian but the reason he does not eat meat is simply that he is revolted by the idea of slaughter. Somehow, the horrible suffocation death of a fish does not trouble him . . .

But “evil”? – he doesn’t hold meat eating against anybody.


I am a vegetarian. I do not eat meat- beef, chicken, fish- nothing of the sort. I was a vegan for approximately three years before I included dairy and eggs back into my diet about a year ago.

I am also Catholic.

To say that vegans think eating meat is evil is to make a very blanket and ignorant statement. To say that they are, often, paganistic and animal-worshippers is even worse. Most vegans are simply doing what they can to promote health and to preserve the environment God has given us (and I’m NOT talking about just saving the animals.) Many vegans and vegetarians do not eat meat because of the state of the meat industry as it is today. In other words, it is not the concept of meat itself that they find “…evil.” Rather, it is the current state of the industry that they do not support. There are many who do find eating meat inherently wrong, but a good majority of them would have no problem with organic, free-range, cruelty free meat.

That said, another portion of the vegan demographic abstains from eating meat for health reasons. As a nutrition major, I can say that research supports erring on the side of less meat than too much, for a number of reasons. Those are besides the point.

Still other vegans do not eat meat simply because it grosses them out, ie. preference.

I am not trying to turn this into an argument about whether or not one should be a vegetarian. My decision to not eat meat is multi-faceted. Feel free to send me a message if you would like more info. I do not care if you eat meat, even right in front of me. I just wanted to clarify that MOST vegetarians would not make a blanket statement like “Eating meat is evil, and that is all there is to it.”

Please be well-read before making claims such as those. Most people who have been vegetarian for any extended period of time (myself included) could easily present you with an array of arguments for why they eat the way they do. You think we aren’t attacked all of the time? Most of us are prepared to defend our decision. Please be prepared before arguing statements that you can’t back up. Statements like the ones that have been made, to me, are the equivalent of “Catholics worship statues.”

After all of this has been clarified, the reasons for being a vegetarian or vegan do not apply to the Eucharst, as has been said:

-Cruelty to animals/living beings- no cruelty is involved
-The concept of “dead flesh” in your body- the Eucharist is very much “alive”
-Detrimental to health- obviously not
-Environmental-none here either

Perhaps other Veg’s would not agree, but from my point of view, this is how I see it.


The only thing I wanted to say concerning this is that it is much more important to do what it takes to practice your faith correctly (receive the Eucharist and other sacraments) than it is to practice being a vegan correctly. I don’t care if technically the Eucharist is meat, or whatever, if you are a good, faithful, and practicing Catholic, then you have to take it - at least every Sunday.



How does that square with the miracles that I have been told about on other areas of the forum, where the host bled, turned physically into human heart tissue and the wine turned to blood?


Eucharistic miracles are an anomaly miraculously caused by God, in which the accidents of bread or wine are replaced by the accidents of flesh or blood.

Normally, in the Eucharist, the accidents of bread and wine remain, while the change of substance remains hidden under those accidents.

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