Fasting/no meat on ordinary Fridays

Umm, how about the Bishops Conferences of Canada, UK, New Zealand, Australia - I know they all have similarly removed the requirement.

OK, so, what’s the latest scoop.

Forget lent, I got that one. Eating meat on a Friday of lent mortal sin period! NEXT…

But, as for the other Fridays of the year, I have LOTS of questions. I myself have read lots of websites (EWTN, vatican, ect.) and persons from the same site don’t even agree. PLEASE HELP!

NON-lenten fridays. I am in the US, so if I opt. to eat meat, must I do another pennace? Or is it just highly recommended.

As a fact I forgo eating meat on all fridays. But, there are some special instances and circumstances where I might wish to eat meat (a family reunion, vacation, ect.) so must I then do a pennace that day? If so, what’s considered an acceptable pennace. A rosary? No dessert? Coffe without cream and sugar?

Also, I know that you can eat dairy products and eggs. What about soups made with meat broth? How about like Busch’s orignial Baked beans with ham (if I just don’t eat the ham peices?) How scrupulous must we be?

Also, is it a sin to cook meat for my protestant husband on fridays (including lent)? It is not a practice of his church denomination, so I figure its okay for me to cook HIM meat as long as I (or future children) don’t eat it.

Also, at what age must children start abstaining from meat? I am thinking of starting from toddler age? Is this bad for them?

Sorry so many questions, I am just SO confused. Thanks to all of you. I know you will be able to help me out. Thanks for being so in tune with the teachings of Holy Mother Church. :slight_smile:

It’s simple: Catholics are by default obliged to abstain from meat on Fridays. However, national conferences of bishops can adjust fasting and abstinence discipline. The American one has done so and thus Americans are not obliged to abstain from meat on Fridays. This does not mean that non-Americans living outside the States are similarly free. For example here, where I live, the requirement of abstinence from meat on Fridays still stands. There’s only a dispensation for those who are travelling or eat in public eating places where they can’t choose anything else than meat. In that case, some other act is required in exchange. Other countries can have stricter or softer discipline.

I have no idea. But the altered requirement should not be assumed without checking for sure. If there’s no alteration done by the local conference of bishops or similar authority, then the default stands.

Actually there is more ham or pork in those cans of beans than you may think. Same with those bits of bacon you spread on your salad.

According to Canon Law, everyone is obligated to do penance on Friday, unless that Friday falls on a major major feast like the Assumption or Immaculate Conception. If abstinence is tough for non-Lent Fridays, I suppose Stations of the Cross qualifies as penance, but I probably will be overruled.

Before Vatican II, things were much easier in regards meat abstinence. Everyone knew Catholics couldn’t eat meat on that day and you were respected for it. Now confusion reigns and even at work, your Catholic boss will take you out to lunch on a Friday and probably order steak for himself. If you tell him that you don’t eat meat, he or she will tell you “Oh, didn’t you hear, you don’t have to abstain anymore.” Sad.

Well I will just continue to be as cautious as I have been in regards to if it says the word meat anywhere on the can, including meat juice/flavorings, i will refrain from it. Also, if I choose to eat meat with non-catholic family functions (which aren’t many at all) I will make sure I do extra prayers, attend Mass, or give something else enjoyable up…like sweets. Sweets are a FAR greater pennace for me than meat anyways. :wink:

**Does anyone else have non-catholic spouses? Are we allowed to cook meat for them on fridays? **

Also, what age are we supposed to start children on the Friday abstinence? I am thinking as soon as they start solids, but I don’t want to hurt their growth if this is not advised.

Thanks for helping, do you know the answers to these other two questions? Thanks and God bless you. :signofcross:

Jimmy Akin has the same status as you or me - he is a lay person in the Church, and no more of an “expert” than yourself.

If you want an individual’s opinion, get in touch with your Bishop; otherwise, just go with what it actually says in canon law. :wink:

My spouse is not Catholic - he cooks for himself on Fridays.

Also, what age are we supposed to start children on the Friday abstinence? I am thinking as soon as they start solids, but I don’t want to hurt their growth if this is not advised.

The law of abstinence from meat takes effect on their 14th birthday, and the laws of fasting take effect on their 18th birthday.

Of course, it is good to train them up from an early age so that it doesn’t come as a surprise to them when they come to the age where it is required. :slight_smile:

The children eat what we eat, so no meat on Fridays. No meat one day of the week will not harm their development. There are other sources of protein that is just fine for children.


Thanks! We normally do eat vegetarian. (I always do of course.) It’s just that sometimes he asks for me to make some meat for him, or wants me to prepare a Friday lunch from thursday’s leftovers (meat included) for him. I don’t try to correct him on this, or if we eat out and he goes for the hamburger and I get the fish sandwich. Am I wrong for doing this?

Thanks so much! :thumbsup:

Thanks! That is what I thought I would do. I just didn’t know why the church postponed the abstinence age to 14. I didn’t want to hurt the children’s growth or anything. I didn’t think it would hurt once a week, considering what most of the world’s children live on daily. :frowning:

Not at all - he is not bound by the laws of the Church. You and your children are, though, relative to your state in life.

Thanks. That is what I thought, but, I wasn’t sure. We’ll have to pray for each other’s spouses and their (hopeful) conversions. :crossrc:

We don’t have children yet, so that’s not a problem. Don’t get me wrong we are most certainly open to life, they are just (unfortunately) not coming yet. :wink: Prayers for baby blessings are most welcome and appreciated. :heaven:

God bless you and yours! Again, thanks!

I fully understand that Jimmy Akin has no teaching authority. However, his article references documents from those that do – the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Canon law allows the individual conferences to determine whether or not we should fast on Fridays, and the USCCB document says we aren’t required to do so, but it is strongly recommended.

The best person to tell you how the law is interpreted in your Diocese is your own Bishop.

Let me give you another perspective about eating no meat on Fridays. I grew up in the 50s with no meat on Fridays. Period. Whether I was three or fifteen, there was no meat on Fridays.

Such suffering we endured. :rolleyes: Oh, the hardship of Shrimp Creole: seafood Gumbo; fried (shrimp, oyster, catfish, or, yes, the soft shelled crab) poboy; fried codfish cakes; fried catfish with hushpuppies; tuna casserole; redfish courtbouillon; trout amandine; trout meuniere…I could go on and on.

In short, it NEVER was a sacrifice for us down here in Louisiana and it was recognized as such. I can remember sermons (yes, sermons, not homilys) in which we were exhorted to do more because it was no sacrifice for us.

Every now and again, my mother would try to teach us about sacrifice and so she’d make egg salad sandwiches or PBJ sandwiches…:rolleyes:

Because of this, to this day, since food is not a viable option to me, I try to do more on Fridays - turn off the TV and media; spend more time in prayer, etc.


Perhaps they should have commuted your Friday penance to giving up fish and seafood. :wink:

I kind of look at it the same way today Brother. I love seafood so eating shrimp instead of a steak is no sacrifice at all.

But what I have come ot the conlusion of is that the “meatless” Friday does serve two purposes for me. First, it brings back just a bit of the Catholic identity. I’m not a big fan of tradition just for the sake of tradition, but I think that we almost surely did chuck so many of the traditions that identified us with each other that, when coupled with the additional cultural changes, we have mostly loss our sense of Catholic community almost entirely. For me, trying to go back to that is a small way that I can proclaim my Catholicism.

The other reason is that even though it isn’t a sacrifice, it still takes a conscious effort. And when I make the conscious effort, it brings to mind why I am doing it. That will also then usually prompt extra prayers since God comes to mind more naturally because of that effort.

I’m not suggesting that anyone else should adopt this, but for me it is helpful, and Lord knows I need all the help I can get.


We all need all the help we can get! :wink:

I agree with your point here. It does take a conscious effort. An added bonus in my sphere is that my husband (a protestant) is getting used to it too, its becoming routine. When I plan ahead for friday’s meals…he’s already started saying…oh that’s right…it’s friday. He’s associating fridays with no meat for Catholics! And, since I am the one cooking, unless he eats out with co-works or gets a hold of left-overs, he is participating by default! :thumbsup:

Or at least the deep-fried stuff. Fish is good for the heart. Christ knew what’s good for us.

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