Non-meat diets and Abstinence


I hope I’m not repeating a question on the site, but here goes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the practice of abstinence from meat on Fridays (traditional practice and current practices) and I’ve been wondering about people who already to not eat meat due to preference or medical reasons.

Since the practice of abstinence as I understand it, us restraining ourselves from a certain act and in this case, the eating of meat, as a type of sacrifice. But how does this affect/ how can this be applied to people who do not eat meat? I would think that they should abstain from another food that they consume that is some equivalent to meat. Can anyone else share their thoughts?


Some people/cultures choose another food or practice to substitute for not eating meat.


There are a number of countries where people rarely eat meat anyway because it isn’t widely available and most of the people can’t afford to buy it.

The Church rule is “abstain from meat” and it doesn’t have special rules for abstaining from something else if you are vegetarian or vegan or can’t afford meat.

People are always free to give up something else or do some additional pious act, if they feel that giving up meat is not enough of a sacrifice because they wouldn’t have been eating it anyway.


I simply view it as extending the abstinence from Friday through every day and do not add anything else.


The idea of eating meat every day is one that most folks throughout history haven’t done. It never mandated anything further on this


The requirement is to abstain from meat. If they do anything else, it is voluntary. There is NO requirement to do anything else. They are abstaining from meat.


In fact, if you look at the full traditional fast (still recommended by most EC and EO churches), you find something pretty close to diet of the poor in the mediterranean area of the first an second century. No meat, no fish (except one day a week), no wine (except for the other day of the weekend), no dairy, no olive oil! (stored in animal skin). Sea bugs were (and are today) ok, as no-one but the poorest of the poor had to eat them.



This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit