Fasting in the family and diebeties


my fiancee is mildly diabetic and with the help of glucose tablets manages to fast during lent . however we have been told that any children we have will be serverly diabetic (due to my gestational diebeties) . my fiancee feels very stongly about fasting and wants the children to fast with us however i am woried as to the effect this may have , the doctor did not know wether it would have negative long term effects but said that the body would adapt eventualy . personaly i would rather not take the risk but on the other hand i dont want to leave the children out of something so important .would i be right in defying the wishes of my husband and forcing the children to eat during lent.
i know its a bit early in asking but i would like to get this problem sorted before they arrive.


The church doesn’t expect children to fast, in fact, the law of fasting binds only adults from the age of 18 to 60 and doesn’t bind those who are ill. Even the abstinence law (no meat) only binds those who are 14 and older. Would your fiancé risk his children’s health for something the Church doesn’t require?? He can risk his if he wants but he has no right to do that to children.


We all say a lot of stupid, foolish things when we are young and inexperienced. My wife thought that she would continue to attend daily early morning Mass after our first child was born. I wasn’t convinced of either the practicality or the wisdom of trying to do that. It worked out for the benefit of the baby. Feeding time trumps everything when baby arrives.



As Phemie pointed out children are not obliged to fast.

For that matter, those who have illnesses and health conditions are not obliged to fast. Diabetes is a serious health condition. Your fiance (one e for men, if he is going to be your husband) is not obliged to fast. Doing so is **not **some sign of valor. It can cause serious health problems later on. I can’t think of a spiritual director who would make him do so. There are other ways to do penance during Lent. A good spiritual director would be able to advise him on the matter.

Catholic brides are not obliged to vow to “obey” their husbands, even under the Extraordinary Form of Matrimony. Marriage involves mutual submission,each giving to the other. If the doctor said it would be harmful to the children to fast, then a husband expecting his wife to not feed the children has some serious problems. Of course the wife could feed them! It would be a sin not to feed them!

I don’t understand your intended’s obsession with fasting. If he is called to married life, then obsessive fasting is not for him, particularly with diabetes of any type. I don’t understand why somebody has yet to explain to the two of you about mutual submission. I don’t understand why nobody has explained to either of you that following somebody else into sin is not what the Church teaches.:confused:


I agree with the previous posters…

I do somewhat object to this comment. It may not work out for some people, but it can be done (and even with more than one kid) and is neither foolish nor stupid. (Though I’ll admit that I have only been able to do go to morning daily Mass in my town with my babies and only because the Mass is at 8 AM and not early early, but other women have done it and without neglecting their babies’ feeding needs).


we wernt aware that fasting only applyed to adults , justins mother made him fast as a child . which i suppose is where he gets his obssesion from , i dont know if its an irish catholic thing or not.
with regards to morning mass i wont need to wory ours dosnt start till 10.45 so it wont interfer with feeding times.

thank you for all the information i shall be talking to him when he gets back from work.


I note that you use the word ‘obsession’. He may well have an unhealthy obsession with fasting and it would be really good for him to talk to a priest or spiritual director about this. God doesn’t expect us to make ourselves sick for him but to take care of the body he gave us and treat it well.

Even though the law of abstinence from meat only applies to 14 and over, most of us grew up in homes where fish on Fridays was the norm whether you were 2 or 92. I don’t think our parents were aware or cared that a kid didn’t have to abstain from meat, moms weren’t about to cook 2 separate meals. But I don’t remember my parents ever suggesting that we fast as kids and I left home before I reached the age where fast would have been mandatory.


Coming from a hiberian-american household where fasting and abstinence were the order of the day when appropriate to the calendar, no, sorry, it’s not an Irish thing. My mother, like Phemie’s, did not cook two meals on Friday, excepting my father’s chops or steak (he used to be a lapsed Catholic). With then six children, she couldn’t afford it, and more to the point, she didn’t want the extra work. And when we children were not required to fast or abstain, we did not fast or abstain, having to eat our protein and green veggies. This was when first 7 year olds, then 14 year olds had to abstain (not eat meat) every Friday. My mother did fast, the only one in the household to do so, eating only three meals, two of which did not equal her biggest meal.

Now, abstinence is no big deal, because protein is protein. Kids love pizza of any kind with cheese and veggies, meatless spaghetti, tuna hot dish with potato chips, bean burritos, etc.

But to make children fast, particularly small children, and children who might be diabetic- absolutely not.

I reinterate, and second and third others: Have your Justin talk with a priest or spiritual director. You don’t want to marry before this thing is settled. It might seem small on the surface, but it’s my opinion- and it’s only my opinion, take it or leave it- that there is a red flag that Justin insists on fasting when he has diabetes, insists his children are going to fast, and insists you make these potential children do so.


I’d like to clear something up - 1, you cannot be mildly diabetic. You either are or you are not. If my “mild” you mean he does not take insulin, that’s simply incorrect thinking. There is type 1 diabetes (known as juvenile diabetes) which is an autoimmune disease and in which people are insulin dependent, and there is type 2 which is insulin resistance usually caused by lifestyle issues and often hereditary. Both are different diseases and neither is worse than the other. 2, your children may or may not be at risk of getting type 2 diabetes since you had gestational diabetes but again, to say “severe” diabetes is a misnomer. It certainly isn’t a given that they will also have type 2 diabetes.

In any case, if he is taking insulin and still trying to fast, and helping himself along with glucose tabs (which are basically sugar - it’s like eating candy all day) he’s really not fasting and really is just hurting himself in the end.


My kid has type 1 diabetes and I have to say your husband is confused both about Catholic doctrine and diabetes. Gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes (the kind you take a pill for) are not indicators that your kids would have type 1 diabetes (a whole different disease, your body does not recognize the cells that make insulin as its own and kills them off; people with type 1 have to take insulin to live).

I have heard of kids who wanted to fast while they had diabetes, it can be managed. But fasting for a type 1 diabetic is not just about sacrifice, as it would be for others, but would be a risk – it could lead to seizures, hospitalization, even death. My two year old gets her fingers stuck ten times a day, gets four shots of insulin a day, and feels crummy many days and nights because of high or low blood sugar levels. I don’t think she needs to sacrifice any more, food-wise!


My faith has an axiom, when a life is in danger, the Law must be broken. Note, that’s must be, not may be. It is a positive injunction to break the law to save life. Primarily, because life is the greatest gift we are given by our Creator and to risk it to satisfy some requirement of Law that is merely a reflection of the goodness of the Creator is wrong.

Among the Christian denominations, the Orthodox and the Catholics have retained most strongly that concept–that life is the most precious gift and must be protected even if it requires breaking rules, an example of which was given by Jesus healing on the Sabbath.


children are not obligated by the fasting discipline of the Church in any case until age 18, and a diabetic, pregnant or nursing mother or anyone whose doctor advises them not to fast has never been bound by these rules.

I would seriously consider some joint spiritual direction about the general advisibility of adopting fast and abstinence disciplines more harsh than the traditional practices of the Church, and especially about a father requiring a spouse or children to comply.

this forum is no place for medical advice, but certainly having experience with pregnancy and diabetes, I can observe that if your diabetes is under control and you adhere to your doctor’s prescriptions it is possible to avoid pregnancy complications, and to have healthy, non-diabetic children. gestational diabetes usually refers to that which presents symptoms in the woman for the first time during pregnancy.


My family is Irish Catholic and we still didn’t not fast as children. I think he should check out the rules - no fasting is done for little kids and certainly not if there is an illness.

Besides, forcing someone to fast, doesn’t really make that forced person understand the reasons behind them anyway. I would put the health of the children first.


thank you all for your support and advice perticualy to annanthur whose message brought home the seriouceness of the matter you are right it is unfair that a child going through so mutch should be asked to fast . we have been going to premarital counciling recomended by our preast and we have sorted things out .
so thank you all if it werent for your suport and insistance we would still be arguing now.

(puzzleannie i am well aware that gestational diebeties ocurs during pregnany . when i lost my first child during a seazure the hospital found that my blood sugar levals were 2.73 i had never experienced low bloodsugars befor and up until that point had never been diabetic.)


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