I purposely ate meat tonight, where do that leave me?


Am I in mortal sin because I ate meat tonight willingly and on purpose because I went to a burger store with my sister and my brother in law.
I did think it through, but landed on going.
Can I receive Communion or is confession inventible?
I am planning to abstain from meat tomorrow instead, does that count as my Friday penance even though its done at an Saturday?

Is this venial or mortal, if a sin at all?

Your brother in Christ

  • MarianCatholic


Are you a Latin rite Catholic in the United States? The fast for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross has been transferred to today (from Sunday) for Byzantine Catholics. Today is a day of strict fast (no meat, no dairy), but even that is by tradition and not obligatory in the strictest sense. (As my priest likes to say: "The fast is voluntary, but then again, so is our faith.) But if you are a Latin rite Catholic in the US, I would say that you have committed no sin at all, though your plan for an alternate penance is a good one.


Your location says you’re in Norway. I don’t know the practice of the Norwegian bishops. Do they require abstinence from meat on Fridays? If so, do they say it’s under penalty of sin? Do they give you other options?

You’ll need to do your research to determine what the requirements are in your country.

Obviously you have some sense that you shouldn’t eat meat on a Friday and decided to do it anyway. Only you can judge why you did that.


Based on the bolded, I think you answered your own questions.


If your bishops required it, i think its mortal, but youll have to check. if not, then good job! But not a sin.


More specifically, Canon Law requires it. The bishops may offer you a substitute penance for those Fridays outside Lent.


It sounds like, under the impression that it was prohibited and a mortal sin, you consciously chose to eat meat (with no medical or similar reason). Pretty sure that would be a mortal sin whether your bishops allow another practice to be substituted or not - in this case, the grave matter would be consciously doing what you believed to be gravely wrong, rather than the eating of the meat itself. If you thought it was prohibited, but didn’t think violating the prohibition (that you thought was there) would be a grave matter, then it may not have been a mortal sin, however I would probably recommend going to confession anyway.

If your country does allow another practice to be substituted, then in the future you could plan on performing one if a similar situation happens, but that varies from place to place.


Yes, I looked it up and its exactly as you say, my bishop has substituted it with other penance outside of lent.
We can offer up meat, but we also have the choice of offering up other pleassures as friday penance.

I think I`ll do my penance at saturday as I planned and let it go really.
I confess regularily due to an impurity problem I suffer from and I may bring it up the next time Im in confession, but I dont think its nessecary to make an appointment just becouse of this.

It is outside of Lent and the rules arent that stricked in my country either so I think Saturday penance will be a sufficident replacement for my lack of penance today.

Thanks for replies;)


I follow your logic as for disobediance and willingness to ignore canon law even if it wasnt mortaly sinful in and of itself.

The thing is that I dont see things like friday penance outside of lent as something VERY important. I simply struggle to see why its a severe sin if I dont do my friday penance.
Things like Lust and other sins I do understand why are grave matters, but simply skip penance outside of lent seems like a venial sin to me.
I understand that disobediance are a grave sin, but if I for some reason find it more conveniant to do penance on saturday how is it so wrong?
Does it really matter if its friday or saturday as long as I do my penance in reveranse for Christ?

(sorry about my poor english)


The way I read it, the penance is to be performed on all Fridays, with the exceptions of solemnities (Christmas, Immaculate Conception, etc.) which fall on that day.

Personally I wish they gave us a list of such penances which can be substituted. Seems like “penance” is too vague.


Church law says this:

Can. 1250 The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday.

Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated:

Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat.

Putting two and two together, it seems that there is an obligation to do something of abstinence or of christian piety on Friday of every year. It is not obligatory to abstain from meat, but abstention from meat can be substituted by some other good work or abstention of something else.

But it seems that THERE IS an obligation to do something on Friday.
However, I do not see the SERIOUSNESS of this obligation spelled out.


Just to be clear, the obligation is to do something on Friday, not Saturday. It’s like there is an obligation to go to Mass on Sunday. Going on Monday is perfectly nice *in addition *to Sunday, but it doesn’t excuse you from meeting your obligation on Sunday.

The OP is outside the United States.


Good work, Joining my sister and her husband for dinner and getting closer to them is good work? Spending more time with your loved ones is good work isnt it?
Or is that a bit exaggerated? :shrug:


Good work, Joining my sister and her husband for dinner and getting closer to them is good work? Spending more time with your loved ones is good work isnt it?

That might be a bit of a stretch. That being said, if you offered to do some sort of service or favor for your sister and her husband - that could be your Friday penance. Alternatively, read the mass readings for the day, pray the rosary, pray the divine office, or some pious act in addition to what you would normally do each day.


This member is correct. It is mandatory only during Lent.


Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that? :thumbsup:


Yeah, he’s good. This quote kept me going today as I tried to rationalize my way out of following the fast.


No, abstaining from meat is mandatory but something else can be substituted for it. The way you put it, it sounds like one doesn’t have ti do anything at all on Fridays outside of Lent. During Lent, one can not substitute anything for abstaining from meat on Fridays.


Your English is much better than my Norwegian :slight_smile:

Anyway, fasting is a spiritually good act, maybe like saving money is a good material act, only fasting is better, comparitively speaking.

Fridays are a special day for us because that is the day on which Christ suffered and died for us, so that we could have a chance to join Him in Heaven. Out of love for Him, we ought to want to do something for Him, right? So we remind ourselves of the fact that Christ did this glorious thing for us by doing something for Him.

This is why we should do it, and why we should do it on Fridays.

Are you praying the Rosary every day? Because Fridays people generally oray the Sorrowful mysteries, so you should be reminded every Friday of what He did for us.


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.