Meat as an idol

I’m always amazed when a thread is started about whether Catholics can or should eat meat on Fridays throughout the year. It seems to me that some folks are so afraid of letting go of meat one day each week. Really? Even if someone is an iron worker, carpenter, etc… There is no reason that meat can’t be abstained from for one day. It really does seem some people worship meat and are literally afraid to not have flesh each and every day. Mediate, ponder this for a while. Is meat one of the idols I worship and put before God?


Well, yes abstaining from anything is looked down upon in this day and age.

Now, there are legitimate health reasons for some people…people who have diabetes or food allergies, etc…I eat low carb and I can’t eat eggs so yeah abstaining from all meat on fridays (and weds too…I’m Eastern) is really difficult.

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I don’t think it’s that. I think they are the rule observers. Afraid God will slap them for breaking a rule.
It could be abstain from candy. They’d still be upset/scared.

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yes, it leads to an unhealthy fear of God. And for people like myself (with OCD) it just feeds our scrupulosity.

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Angel…: I understand that there are health issues for some that would preclude them from fasting for a few days at a time of even one full day. I’m not sure about how letting go of meat while still eating otherwise normal meals for one day would affect someone whatever the particular health issue is. However you are living your life not me and you should listen to the body and listen to what it tells you as well as listening to the doctors.
I was diagnosed as anemic last year so the doctor suggested going on iron pills and eating an egg each day to help with that (I’m primarily vegetarian and apparently not getting enough iron from plant sources). Doing this seems to have helped quite a bit. However if I missed a day of taking the Iron supplement of didn’t get the egg on a particular day or two I didn’t stress over it. Ocd and scrupulosity are other matters I’m not dealing with. Food allergies never came to my mind.
Tulitas: Interesting thoughts you’ve posed on rule observers. Candy used to be my downfall. Such the sweet tooth.

well, for someone who is diabetic or who eats low carb to keep blood sugar stable, there is a lot they can’t eat. If I could eat eggs again it wouldn’t be so difficult but I can’t so I try to eat fish but sometime there are leftovers that really need to be used up instead of making something new. Stuff like that. I’ve talked to my priest about it and the beauty of being Eastern is the whole concept of oikonomia…love it!

I don’t agree that the consumption of meat should be compared to idolism I eat meat. It seems as if my metabolism needs the protein and I do and feel better with meat in my diet. As with all things one can be gluttonous. If I do forget a Friday, fast day or simply only have meat available for one of those meals…I don’t get hyper about it.


If the Church has lifted the requirement to abstain from meat for a given territory, that should carry weight too. If one can voluntarily abstain from meat, it is meritorious, but in such places, if one is to continue eating meat, then do not add a burden on this person that the Church herself has not.

This becomes even more urgent if the person in question is scrupulous.

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Much to mull over in these last few posts. I’m not trying to burden anyone merely getting folks to ponder about the importance they place on meat that may be unwarranted (keyword being may). Mary…-interesting you should bring up the body needing the protein. For years now most of my protein has come from plant sources. A couple years ago I began eating one to two eggs per week to keep the iron level up to be able to continue donating blood. Then last year was diagnosed with anemia so more eggs incorporated into the diet. Last year I also added fish once every two weeks or so. All has been fine this way until a few weeks ago. I’m undergoing treatments for cancer. Had some radiation treatments a few weeks ago to the brain and during those treatments I began craving either fat or the meat itself. I’ve had pig in the form of bacon and pork chops as well as some chicken and chicken skin over a couple of weeks. Now as I get farther and farther from those treatments the cravings are disappearing so I’m back to fish once in a while, 1-2 eggs most days, and of course the usual plant based protein sources. All is well now and I had no qualms about honoring the body with what I believe it was telling me it needed and no qualms about honoring what it is telling me is okay now.

I ate ribs today and I liked it :yum:


Haven’t enjoyed those in years. Prime rib was my idol back in the day. :slight_smile:

Good source of protein!

Yes. So are avocados, legumes, almonds, walnuts, on and on. And with the plant based protein I never had an issue of not getting enough protein for the body to make muscle. Never an issue. Iron has been my issue mostly.

Eggs and dairy products contain almost no iron, so vegans tend to have higher iron levels than lacto-ovo vegetarians. Note that eating Vitamin C with vegetables help to absorb the iron in them. Iron sources:

  • lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans
  • quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal
  • pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
  • tomato sauce, Swiss chard, collard greens,
  • blackstrap molasses, prune juice

See: Matthew Ruscigno, MPH, RD

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Vico Thank you for your input. Vitamin c I’m aware is helpful to absorb iron from vegetables. I apparently have more trouble than most or at least some folks with absorbing vitamins and minerals (at least some). Thank you for the list you provided as well. Actually the egg yolk is supposed to be a really good source of iron though probably not compared to cow, chicken, or maybe fish. Yet still a good source and easier to access iron from animals than from vegetables. This is why I continue to be an omnivore and not vegetarian
I mentioned avocados in a previous post as being a good source of protein. They are a source of protein but not as much as I recalled. Still protein.

God allows us to eat meat but you seem to want to overrule him!

How about beans, peas and lentils?

I personally abstain (actually, beginning this past lent, I try to make Friday vegan).

Not because I have to give up meat, or I think it’s a sin per-say to eat it at this point, but I do believe the basic Friday penance still applies, and I just find it’s a sacrifice to do, and easy to remember (as lenten Fridays are still meat-free).

I think the world as a whole (even for secular reasons) could stand to eat less meat. Our meat production has exploded to the point of having negative effects on our environment. There’s so many healthy things to supplement meat, like beans and nuts and even some fruits like eggplant. Mind you, I’ve never been much of a meat fan (thus the full vegan on Fridays as I love eggs and dairy)

Idk how hard it is for those who can’t abstain from meat so I can’t judge. I don’t think it is in any case an idol, more like weakness of will. I haven’t found yet any doctors who advise and skipping meat from time to time is dangerous to health, on the contrary actually.
I don’t think God will judge us by the weight of meat we eat (because He can’t measure the amount we don’t eat so give us a badge or something:grinning:).
I think there are others mortifications for those addicted to meat - like those of the spirit - talk nicely with someone you can’t stand or you argued with for example.

100 g of Avacado has 2 g protein.

Tea contain tannins that inhibit iron absorption. Iron absorption can increase as much as five times in vegetable sources with or eaten with Vitamin C.

  • Sesame seeds, roasted 15 mL (1 Tbsp) has 1.4 mg
  • Egg, one large has 0.6 - 0.9 mg
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