Is cheese really ok in lent on Friday?


Many cheese contain an ingredient called Rennet which is an enzyme that is taken from the stomach of dead cows. So is this ok or not to have on Fridays?


An enzyme is not “flesh,” so this would in all likelihood be ok.



Considering that if one goes to any fish fry, one sees on the menu either cheese pizza or mac and cheese then I would say yes. this is being overly scrupulous. milk that is used in cheese comes from animals. the restriction is on meat, not all animal products such as milk and eggs.


Hi Gemma,

I have always eaten cheese-based dishes and foods during Lent, ever since I can remember.

I am an adult now, but even as a child my Mom used to make these kinds of foods for us at home while I was growing up, and that was a long time ago now.

I would eat cheese sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, for example.


USCCB: Questions and Answers about Lent and Lenten PracticesQ. I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?

A. Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted

And there you have it… right from the Bishops’ mouth to our ears :smiley:


Not for Carthusian monks.

They don’t eat meat year-round. At Lent, they also give up dairy products and eggs… and not just on Fridays :eek:

That’s harsh especially since a good part of Lent is usually in winter.


The Eastern Catholics/Eastern Orthodox are perhaps the strictest of all.


As cheese is a dairy product & not meat or foul; it is allowed for consumption on Fridays during Lent.


You really shouldn’t be so scrupulous. I like to drink milk, and that comes from cows, but that doesn’t break the law of abstinence.

Generally, if it isn’t the tissue of an animal, then you are fine.


Before Vatican II, consuming broth and gravy from animals was forbidden on days of fast.

It’s amazing how much rules have been relaxed since Vatican II.


Is Milk OK? It’s taken from the udder of a cow.


The difference between milk and the rennet in cheese is that rennet has to be extracted from a slaughtered animal and milk comes from a living one. That’s my point.


My question is regarding the rennet which is the stomach of a dead cow. Milk doesn’t contain dead cow.


But anyway I’m ok with eating cheese now.


Hi Gemma,

It’s completely acceptable to eat cheese on Fridays in lent.


So if I cut a steak from a live cow, I’m good to go on Friday? :rolleyes: :wink:



That things have relaxed alot since V2 was my understanding as well. When I went thru RCIA, Fr. discussed this in class the week before Ash Wednesday. He noted the restrictions as I have noted from the USCCB and then he told us about when he was a kid (also, noted in the quote in my post) that even broths etc… were usually not allowed if made from “meats.” Thus, I can see how the faithful, especially converts, can have a hard time making heads or tails of what we’re supposed to be doing.

BTW: I just found a souce for NON animal, that is to say, Vegetable rennet.


No, but you’re free to munch on all the enzymes you’d like.


Yep! Enjoy the cheese…sounds good.


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