Forgot to abstain from meat for Ash Wednesday

This is my first time practicing Ash Wednesday. I was so excite for lent. I was all ready to fast for the day. I ate my one full meal in the morning, and was preparing to limit myself to two smaller meals for the rest of the day. Then, I remembered that was are also supposed to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday. My full meal had meat in it. I became very disappointed after realizing what I had done.

What should I do? I was thinking of eating no more for the rest of day as penance to make up for eating meat. But am I being too scrupulous. Since I did not intend to fail to abstain from meat, should I just forget it and move on? Should I do something else? I could use some advice. Thanks.

You should continue fasting and not eating meat because those are the prescribed actions. Abstaining from meat for the rest of the day wouldn’t be much of an additional penance, since it’s already prescribed anyway. It’s up to you if you want to offer it up that way, or do something else, additionally. There’s no prescribed rule that you have to do an additional penance, but it might be nice, and in the spirit of Lent, if you think of one.

You could abstain for the rest of the day when you have your two smaller meals.

Perhaps you should mention it at your next confession? From what you’ve said, it doesn’t sound like you have committed a mortal sin.

Shame on you!

Now do you feel better? I said shame on you?

Just pick up where you left off and try better next time. We only have two days a year to fast and go without meat.

It happens even to those of us who are veterans. I have forgotten on fridays. the no meat thing.

Someone else will have more to add. You may want to offer it up at confession to see if it is a problem. I think it is more a discipline and not a sin. You had it all planned out, your heart was right, but next time you will remember.


Whether it’s a matter of sin or not, since it was a slip of the mind (you forgot as opposed to saying “I know it’s Ash Wednesday – I’m going to Red Robin anyway and having the Monster Burger”…) you’re probably OK. If it bugs you, talk to a priest and get his advice. :thumbsup:

Oh, honey, you’ve beaten yourself up enough!

Go on w/ your day and may you have a blessed & holy Lent.


Do not worry about it. Do not! You honestly forgot, there is no sin in that.

I say this with charity, I’m honestly not trying to beat up on anyone, but it really bugs me that on these types of threads, there are posters who say to bring it up in Confession, “just in case” or something like that. I think this fosters scrupulosity. There very clearly was no sin here, and no need to bring it up in Confession.

According to my parish priest, if you purposely do not abstain, it is a sin and you “need to go to confession,” Since you just forgot, it isn’t a mortal sin so it can be forgiven with other means than confession like attending Mass, prayer, almsgiving, fasting or acts of charity. When I forget, I always abstain on another day to “make up for it” and kind of make myself feel better about forgetting. That also helps me remember better the next time too. Sometimes, I go ahead and abstain on Thursday between Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent so I don’t forget on Friday.


It does not foster scrupulosity. That term is thrown around here so much that folks think you can catch it if someone just mentions it.

If one has any doubt (and I agree that this wasn’t a sin), it is more advisable to speak with one’s confessor or spiritual director rather than solely following the advise of anonymous posters on an internet forum. How did the faithful ever avoid damnation before the internet?:wink:

The only reason I said that is because I couldn’t remember what the rules where. It doesn’t hurt to ask. So then he will know and can share.

That’s all.

Can one imagine the effect if more people turned to their priest and the documents of Holy Mother Church, instead of the internet curia?

Too true!


Read the catechism? Specifically the conditions for mortal sin?

Oh, I meant give up all food for the rest of the day as a form of additional penance. That is what I have done. I am starting to get hunger pangs, and still have 8 hours to go! And I will be surrounded by food for the rest of the day, but that’s ok! I can do it!

That’s a good idea, although I hate bugging my priest about small things like this.

Unfortunately, since I am in RCIA, I cannot yet go to Confession. That would surely be an “easy” solution if I could, though.

If you forgot, you forgot. Just stay away from meat for the rest of the day. Meat, by the way, refers to the flesh of land animals or fowl. Therefore, you could eat some sort of fish or seafood.

You can’t commit a mortal sin involuntarily. You therefore don’t have to confess this.

I want to correct you, mamalso, that we must abstain from meat on all Friday’s of Lent and Ash Wednesday.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit