Lent - What Can We Eat?

I’ve got all kinds of dialogue raging here at work as to what you can and can not eat during Lent. The specific snafu seems to be dealing with eggs. Some say you can eat them, some say you can not eat them. From what research I’ve done, I believe you can eat eggs during Lent. Nonetheless, where can we find verifiable proof of what we can eat during Lent.

The only dietary restrictions for Lent are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent (including Good Friday), and to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Here’s the relevant section in the Code of Canon Law.

Whether you give up eggs or candy or anything else is entirely up to the individual.

Thanks Joe! That is exactly what I was looking for.

There is no longer any restriction on eggs (considered a meat by-product) for Catholics in the Latin rite of the Church.

  1. Good Friday is not a Friday of Lent.

  2. When a solemnity falls on a Friday in Lent, the obligatory abstinence from meat is dispensed.

The exact definitions of what constitutes “meat” has actually varied over the centuries. The easiest rule of thumb is “warm blooded”, since carne-vale (meaning goodbye, meat!) suggests warm blooded animals.

So snakes and ex-girlfriends are fine.
Whales are not kosher.

Living organisms that don’t have blood are also fine. Enjoy your locusts. :slight_smile:

Not much… :wink:

Grass is always a safe bet.

Eggs are on the approved list today, at one time they were not and still are not approved in some of the Eastern Churches/Rites.

So according to Cannon Law are we to abstain from meat every friday of the year?

Not in the US. Our Bishop’s have told us we may abstain from meat every Friday or do another type of penance/good work. It’s only the Friday’s of Lent that we must abstain from meat. As well as Ash Wednesday.

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. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good 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 USCCB issued the Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence in 1966 which detailed the guidelines in the US. If memory serves me right (I can’t remember the whole thing) those in the US can substitute another act of penance or a work of charity in the place of abstinence from meat. As far as I know there were no other guidelines set down afterwards, so this document is still in force. If you are not in the US, disregard this paragraph.

To answer your question directly, yes, we are to abstain from eating meat on Friday unless your Episcopal conference chooses otherwise.

Ok since Lent starts tomorrow, I have a couple questions. If I eat meat on a Friday I am sinning because I’m not following church law, correct, is this mortal sin or venial sin?

Now another thing is what if I mistakenly start eating meat then remember that it is Friday and stop eating the food with meat immediately, was I still sinning for that mistake? If this is a sin, is it mortal or venial?

I think I know the answer to my next one but just want to be sure, what if I begin eating like a sandwich and did not realize there was meat in it until I was half way done then I noticed there was meat, is this sin or not sin because I did not have full knowledge of the contents of the sandwich? I’m pretty sure that it’s not because I did not have full knowledge, but just need clarifcation


It is grave matter, and if done with full consent and knowledge, it can be a mortal sin.

You cannot sin by mistake.

Again, you cannot sin by mistake.

If you knew or once you know/remember that it is Friday and you are not to eat meat, it is a serious matter if you choose to or continue to eat the meat.

OR perform some other penitential act. Only on Fridays in Lent are we required to specifically abstain from meat.

At our local Catholic High School, they have spring workouts for the football team scheduled this week, before school. They have a fine football program, and have been doing this for years.

However, it occured to me that this sets up a conflict with the players who are expected to participate. It is “suggested” that all players attend, but in reality they’re’ mandatory unless a student is participating in another spring sport.

I see a problem, however, in scheduling such workouts (and these are pretty intense…not a few kids “lose their lunch” during these workouts) on Ash Wednesday. It seems to me that unless these kids eat normally (or perhaps a bit more than usual), they run the risk of hypoglycemia. However, they are supposed to (relative to their age and metabolism; we know that teenage boys eat like horses) participate in the fast.

Question is, would you write the coach and principal and let them know of your concern if you had a son in the football program there? I omit the AD, as in the past he’s been shown to be as worthless as you-know-whats on a boar as far as responding to parent concerns.

The obvious solution would be to either not have the workouts on Ash Wednesday (making them “optional” is a joke…everyone knows that if players don’t show up the coaches take note) or schedule the spring workouts on a different week.

I assume that someone at the school has thought that this could be a potential conflict, yet workouts are scheduled every day this week. Sports are important at this school, but this seems to me to pit Ash Wednesday fasting against loyalty to the football program.

Is it just me that thinks that way? :shrug:

Today is my first Ash Wednesday that I am observing. I am in RCIA and want to take this fasting as serious as possible. I am only going to consume water and a single meal this evening. Is this normal or what others are doing? People at work are thinking that I am quite strange. I just wanted to see what others are doing. God Bless

I’m sure just like everything else the school knows that many of the students are not Catholic and don’t want to seem to cater to only the Catholics! Keep your kid home and call them in as absent, go to Confession, attend Mass and do something good for Lent today with them. Football is not one of the Seven Sacraments won’t increase their Sanctifying Grace.

Um, everyone who is Catholic most likely is, unless they have some serious excuse.

A Catholic High School not wanting to be seen as catering to Catholics?? :eek:

***If ***that’s the reason, I think they need to revisit their priorities.

I am fasting, although not as strictly as you are. I’m following this:

Fasting is the taking of only one full meal (which may include meat) and two smaller, meatless meals that don’t equal the large one meal. No eating between meals is allowed, but water, milk tea, cofee, and juices are OK. Meat is allowed at one meal (assuming abstience isn’t also expected on a given day).

I did this last year also, and it was difficult. This year I am using my allowed food wisely. My two small meals with be very protein-heavy.

I will also be abstaining and fasting all Fridays of Lent.

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