Is it sin if i eat meat without realising on Friday?

Today i came from the night shift and went to bed. When i woke up i was still very tired and hungry and i said i will have a snack before starting to cook. I had some salami and bread fast and then after 1 hour when i was really awake i started to cook and realized it is Friday and we are in the Lent. Is it a mortal sin?

Yes, though perhaps not a mortal sin. Still, worth going to confession for.

You cannot commit a sin by accident. If you did not realize it was Friday, how could you have sinned? Just start now abstaining from meat for today.

Yes, you can commit a sin by accident… Just as you can commit a crime by accident. If I genuinly accidently run over a school child with my car, I both sinned and commited a crime, completely by accident.

The fact that it was an accident lessens the culpibility, but it does not expong the sin.

No, not at all. If you were negligent in your driving (not paying attention or something similar) then running over the child is a sin (actually, driving negligently is the sin). If a child in dark clothing runs out in front of your car on the highway and you hit them despite driving attentively, you’ve not committed either a crime or a sin.

On the case of Fridays, I’ve always been taught, both by priests and by older relatives, that it is a sin only to knowingly eat meat on a Friday. If you don’t realize its Friday, its not a sin. If you don’t realize its meat, that’s not a sin either. Of course, the negligent issues still applies-it doesn’t work to go around trying to not know its Friday.

How can something be a sin without full knowledge that it is a sin against God and/or neighbor and you do not deliberately set out to go against God’s law? I thought for a sin to be a sin one had to have a knowledge that what you are doing is wrong and them you deliberately set out to do it knowing you are sinning. I also forgot, totally, forgot today was a meatless day and ate some myself only to realize it later. I did not deliberately set out to defy God and eat meat.

This is false, what you provided is true of mortal sin alone… That is, sin which disconnects you from the Body of Christ and puts you in mortal danger of eternal damnation.

Sin, can be commited wtih out full knowlege, or concent.

Q. What is the difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin?

A. For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must exist at the same time.

  1. It must be of a grave matter;
  2. It must be committed with full knowledge that it is a mortal sin;
  3. It must be committed with full consent. [Full consent means to do it “voluntarily.”] (C.C.C. # 1857)

Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger." (C.C.C. # 1858)

“Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s laws. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.” (C.C.C. # 1859)

“When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object… whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbour, such as homicide or adultery… But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbour, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.” (C.C.C. # 1856)


I guess in this case my question is: How can we be held responsible for a sin against God in the light of the honest human failure of forgetfulness?

I made the same mistake in the past. It is a sin but it does not appear to meet the three requirements for mortal sin. What I did in the past was to go to confession anyway, but that would have not stopped me from receiving Communion. Confessions is an important discipline not just because it allows for the forgiveness of our sins but it gives us graces to be stronger in the prevention of future ones.

I think that we have to discern between sincere forgetfulness vs. the lack of practice in trying to remember. To me this is not the case of the OP ( I think that is a case of a honest mistake) but I know of cases where people can work really hard at trying to forget things in order to avoid responsibility and then they are really successful in forgetting. I think that in this second case being forgetful would not diminish culpability because there was the previous clear intent to sin. Rationalization of sin is one of our biggest enemies.

Not everything that a person forges is done “intentional”. Besides a person knows when they are trying to forget and justifying it as such. I know that my forgetfulness was honest and it did not even dawn on me until later, actually when, I guess the Holy Spirit brought it to my mind out of the blue. I do not eat meat at all on any Friday during or outside of Lent, but sometimes I do forget, a human trait. However, I will confess it at my next confession.

I think it is important to remember that sin is sin, ignorance is not justification. So when you do something sinful, there is no question as to whether or not what you did was sinful, it was and that is that. The only question is the severity of the sin. In this case, the OP is not in danger of hell for this particular lapse in judgment.

It is good practice to go to confession anyway for this, as a sign of your personal contrition.

All I can say is if our honest forgetfulness, a frailty on the part of man, is looked on as a deliberate act against God, then we all need to live in the confessional 24 hours a day because our whole life in this case and particular way is an affront to God.

I can’t imagine that what you’e described would be a mortal sin. Others have already given the detail on that issue. I simply get the sense that you are ignoring lots and lots of other behaviors that are likely sinful in your life, like I do and loads and loads of other people do. I ignore or fail to recognize many failings and for this reason alone its a good idea to go to confession. Peace, g.

Who are you directing this too? If it is not to me, please ignore my statement. However, I was the last person to post.

If this statement was directed to me, I don’t think you have enough information on my spiritual life to draw this assumption. So, therefore, concerning this statements I don’t think you are qualified to judge this part of my spiritual life.

I get the feeling that you really really really don’t understand sin… Not every sin sends you to hell for starters, as outlined what you described in a previous posting as your belief and apparently continue to believe is in fact applicable to the severity of sin.

Intent, full knowlege and willfull act is what makes sin mortal (assuming it is grave matter to begin with). This kind of sin will seperate you from God and send you to hell.

But as James says, we know that there is sin that is Mortal but also that there is sin which is not mortal. Telling a white lie is a sin, it is always a sin. But it is not a mortal sin, you will not go to hell for telling a lie which harms no one. In this case, what the OP has done (which I my self have also done many times) is a sin. It is objectivly a sin and no amount of ignorance can change that.

The question is, is this sin that will send someone to hell. The answer is no, the OP will not go to hell over this. It is still good practice to confess the sin, this informs our contience and makes us better Christians. It also helps mitigate how long we might (or might not) spend in purgatory.

Because you obviously need so much help with the matter of sin, I will refer you to the CCC. You also have my most emphatic exortation to schedule an appointment with your priest or spiritual advisor so you can discuss this matter in detail:

Article 8: Sin

Better send this link to the professional apologist, too. Look how she answered the OP’s question: (bolding mine)

Is it sin if I eat meat without realizing it’s Friday?

Today I came home from the night shift and went to bed. When I woke up I was still very tired and hungry and I said I will have a snack before starting to cook. I had some salami and bread first and then after one hour when I was really awake I started to cook and realized it is Friday and we are in Lent. Is it a mortal sin?

Last edited by Michelle Arnold; Today at 1:53 pm.

#2 Today, 1:47 pm
Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers Apologist Join Date: May 3, 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 4,356
Religion: Catholic

Re: Is it sin if I eat meat without realizing it’s Friday?

No. Sin requires both knowledge and consent. If there is no knowledge or no consent, then there is no sin. Had you known it was Friday and deliberately chosen to eat your salami sandwich anyway, you would have been in mortal sin. If you forgot, you forgot, and to truly forget (as distinguished from false “forgetfulness”) is not a sin.

That said, perhaps you can use this mistake as an opportunity to plan better next time. If you know your schedule makes it likely you could forget what day it is, then put together your Friday meals ahead of time when you’re awake, mark them “Friday,” and put a reminder on your refrigerator on Thursday night that you need to eat your Friday meals.

Too many people do honestly forget about obligations, but do not take precautions to make sure such forgetfulness doesn’t happen again. If, after you’ve forgotten once, you deliberately choose not to plan ahead again and make the same mistake again, there could be some culpability for that choice not to prepare for your Lenten observances.

I did not mean to talk about your specific case. I take your word for it, and I never thought that you were trying to rationalize. I was just talking about a scenario that I believe to happen among Catholics.

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