Did not practice abstinence this Friday, mortal sin?

Well sorry to say I failed in the practice of abstinence this Friday and I’m conscious of it, but because I am tired and the food that was served with meat is too tempting… I ate it. What does the Church say if I ate meat on a Friday of Lent? Is it a mortal sin or venial sin? So that I will know if I can or cannot receive Holy Communion this Sunday…

If you knew it was Friday; if you knew it was Lent; if you knew you were not allowed to meat on a Friday during Lent AND YOU DID IT ANYWAY, then it is a mortal sin. I asked the priest about it years ago and that is what he told me. Try and get to confession before Sunday so you can receive communion.

Is doing a charitable act or praying additional prayers like rosary or Chaplet of the Divine Mercy be able to substitute for that abstaining from meat?

I’m from the Philippines. It is a good thing I saw this :slight_smile:
I guess I would have to pray additional rosaries

Yeah, I’m not familiar with the rules in the Philippines, but it can vary from country to country. Canon Law dictates that Catholics are to abstain from meat on every Friday. But then it goes on to allow local bishops’ conferences to adjust things (with the requisite approval from the Vatican). In the United States, Catholics can substitute another form of Penance on Fridays outside of Lent. I believe someone had mentioned that in Canada, they only have to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

If the Philippines Bishop’s Conference has a website, you might be able to verify what the situation is in your country. Or else you can ask your priest about it as he should know.

…if for example you believed you were bound gravely not to eat any meat and did it with full knowledge and complete consent - that is still a mortal sin even if the law was changed in you country. So I would go to confession if that was the case and explain what happened.


I will also note for the formation of consciences that it is a “substantial” breaking of the fast and abstinence that is grave matter for mortal sin.

Honestly, does anyone really believe that eating meat on one Friday during Lent would constitute a mortal sin? A mortal sin, according to the Catechism, is a “a grave violation of God’s law” the result of which, if unconfessed, is “exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell”? Under the circumstances described, this is at most a venial sin, and possibly no sin at all.

I posted that back in '14. That may have changed, but it has been the discipline for years.

My source is the Philippine Ordo. I live in Canada now so I no longer use it. I would direct the OP to look up the discipline as it is in force today.

It is really confusing then. But yes, I would want to go to confession to be sure.

Something tells me that tens or even hundreds of millions of Catholics ate meat last Friday. Yes we have to be obedient but why make a Church law that would make millions of Catholics condemn themselves? Why don’t they just make it a “venial sin” rather than mortal sin?

You know what, neither did I. I totally spaced out that it was even Friday because my husband was home today and we ran errands. It felt like Saturday and I didn’t even think about it until I read your thread.

How about in Canada, what are their Church’s directive regarding fasting and abstinence there?

I think that is not considered a mortal sin because you totally forgot that it was a Friday.

The following is for the formation of conscience - for the future:

From the Document of Bl. Pope Paul VI that set the current penitential discipline:

II. 1. The time of Lent preserves its penitential character. The days of penitence to be observed under obligation throughout the Church are all Fridays and Ash Wednesday, that is to say the first days of “Grande Quaresima” (Great Lent), according to the diversity of the rites. Their substantial observance binds gravely.

w2.vatican.va/content/paul-vi/en/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19660217_paenitemini.html

Jimmy Akin regarding: “substantial observance”

jimmyakin.com/2010/02/substantial-observance.html

Particularly note:

"Perhaps not surprisingly, a year later the Sacred Congregation for the Council (predecessor of the modern Congregation for Clergy) published a dubium on this issue, which is found in the same volume of Canon Law Digest:

Questions: I. Whether the substantial observance of days of penance, which is declared to be of grave obligation in the dispositive part of the Constitution Paenitemini, II, § 2, of 17 February, 1966, refers to the individual days of penance which are to be observed as a matter of obligation in the whole Church;

II. Or does it refer rather to the whole complexus of penitential days to be observed with the penances attached to them.

Replies: The S. C. of the council replied, with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI:

I. In the negative.

II. In the affirmative; that is, one sins gravely against the law, who, without an excusing cause, omits a notable part, quantitative or qualitative, of the penitential observance which is prescribed as a whole.

Given at Rome 24 February 1967."

I have thus seen it said that breaking of abstinence for a single Friday of Lent (I do note refer here to Good Friday that would not be the example I would offer -but something to look into further due to its importance) - would not be grave matter…

One could ask Jimmy if something more has been found since that 2010 article…but I have seen the above explanation referred to in the past also by Fr. John Hardon (who died somewhere after 1997) and at least one other Priest and have seen it as a footnote in Q &A regarding Penance in Diocese overseas.

And of course venial sin is still sin - (especially deliberate venial sin!) and is to be avoided. And Penance is quite important.

It is not the eating meat that is the sin, it is the DISOBEDIENCE that is the sin.

The rest of what you say is just plain mistaken.

Canada’s guides are less clear but my reading is that the discipline is the same as that in the Philippines: all Fridays (except for Solemnities) are days of abstinence from meat, but another penance may be substituted. Lent isn’t specifically excepted from this, but it isn’t also explicitly mentioned, unlike the Philippine Ordo.

I’m therefore applying the principle of the least burdensome interpretation as the binding one, and that Lenten Fridays in Canada are treated as all Fridays: abstinence or substitution. That said, I always abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays.

porthos11, are you also referring to even non-Lenten Fridays here?

I just looked into this here in Australia, as I had neglected to abstain from meat a little while back myself.

Turns out the Australian Conference of Bishops, or whichever meeting determined this ruling, only requires Abstinence on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday - but does recommend some sort of Penance for Fridays, whether that be (additional) prayer, almsgiving, fasting, abstinence or anything of the above.

A number of Australian Bishops have voiced their support for “bringing back” Friday Abstinence as a means of drawing more people to the Church.
I understand this as people hearing that the Church requires something, and therefore looking into it, trying it out for themselves, and coming to realise that it helps them in their spiritual walk in some way, shape or form.

Yes. All Fridays Lenten and non-Lenten.

really? It is my first time to know that even in non-Lenten Fridays we have to abstain from meat. Is there a penalty if one does not do this?

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