Holy Saturday

I would greatly appreciate a clear answer to this question. I’ve read other forum posts, but they fail to answer the question.

So, I ask:* Are Catholics required to continue fasting on Holy Saturday? That is, are we required to reduce our food intake according the fasting rules and avoid meat on Holy Saturday?*

This is a “yes” or “no” question. I would appreciate, however, some reasoning to go along with whatever response anyone provides: one clear, sober reason for why we do or for why we don’t.

No, we are not “required” but the Church invites us to. All that is required is spelled out in Paul VI’s PAENITEMINI, Canon Law and the decrees of national Episcopal Conferences. None that I’m aware of has decreed Holy Saturday a day of fast and abstinence.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops:


Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence…

If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.

“If possible” means not mandatory.

No, you are not required to fast or abstain from meat today.

You see, that’s exactly it.

The way I see it “if possible” means “if you’re capable, then you’re required.” On the one hand, people claim there’s no requirement. On the other hand, there seems to be a requirement if you’re capable.

Does anyone have the answers?


The same way as if you are unable to attend a mass on Sunday, you don’t have to go to the vigil on Saturday.

But… if possible, you should go Saturday… It is less a matter of letter than of spirit. Where is the heart? There is the treasure. Etc.

The only days of obligatory fasting in the US is Ash Wednesday & Good Friday. This is as stated in the quoted document from the Bishops in which it says, “Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics.” They make no mention of Holy Saturday as an *obligatory *day of fasting or abstinence but simply recommend it if we are able to perform such penances that day. The recommendation is rescinded if it isn’t possible for us to do it since the Church doesn’t recommend us to do the impossible.

In my missal it says, “fasting & complete abstinence are obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday”. There is no mention of a fast on Holy Saturday. The old discipline had a fast and abstinence law in place for Holy Saturday, which is why the Bishops recommend it, but it is no longer obligatory.

Nope. If the bishops wanted to require something, they would say so plainly. There are many optional devotions that we can practice. Very few of them are required by the Church. Attending daily Mass, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, a daily Rosary would be wise actions for all, if possible. But they are not required.

Seems like they have ensured its pretty darn easy to be a christian!

This is a big problem in the CC today from what Ive seen…if something is just even a little bit too inconvenient or conflicts with secular life, its justified to not comply.

We are in agreement… And it has mostly had the opposite of its intended effect, I would argue. But this doesn’t mean the Faith is not the truth. He is truly risen! Alleluia!

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