Possible violation of abstinence

Perhaps you can help me on this one:

Eating dinner at a restaurant this evening (Friday, during Lent moreover), I ordered a shrimp dish. After having eaten a good share of it, perhaps half, I noticed that there was also either ham or Canadian bacon in the dish. Now, I know I’m not culpable for what I had eaten before that due to my own ignorance.

However, I faced a quandary here. I’d likely eaten too much to send it back and order something else. Moreover, that would have been wasteful of food and of my own money. Thus I finished the meal and figured I’d bring it to my confessor for his judgment.

What’s your opinion here: mortal sin, venial sin, or no sin?

Hmm… I think that, if I looked at my half-eaten plate and noticed meat on it, on a Lenten Friday, I’d call the waiter over and ask if s/he could wrap the rest to go (so that I might finish it on Saturday). And, of course, then I’d look at the dessert menu. :wink:

I don’t know that I would go for mortal, but confess it anyway. Nothing wrong with that. The Principal at school made bar-b-que and I forgot all about it, until later on when I remembered. Venial, but I will confess.

Venial, if anything. You didn’t have full knowledge or full intent. :slight_smile:

Hopefully, in the Future, the OP will (on Fridays during Lent) ask the Waiter about possible Meat in a dish.
I can assure you, that this is a question that most all restaurants are asked during Lent.

I noticed that there was also either ham or Canadian bacon in the dish.

Hmm. That looks like ‘full knowledge’.

I faced a quandary here… I finished the meal.

Hmm. That looks like ‘intent’. :wink:

Agree. Also, not a bad idea to bring it up in confession as well, since you did continue to finish it.

Years ago my mother fed us a take away Chinese meal. (which was a big treat, I remember.) On a Friday. She found a piece of pork in what was supposed to be a fish dish. She stopped the meal and rang the parish priest, a wise old Irishman, who told us to go ahead as there was no culpability and it would be a waste of what to us was an expensive treat.

Years later, my wife tells of a similar story of a work friend who rang the bishop on just such a query to be told the same thing.
Thus, No Sin.
I do remember a time at a university welcome for overseas students when I was just about to tuck into a delicious hamburger as they only had a BBQ, to be confronted by my friend an Anglican Priest who reminded me it was Ash Wednesday (I had completely forgotten as it had been a long day. ) He gleefully took my hamburger and ate it leaving me with nothing. I forgave him but it took a while and a few free beers.

I was on my way home a couple of Fridays ago. I stopped for breakfast and ordered a nice IHOP breakfast combo. I asked the server to put the bacon in a takeaway box because as I Catholic I did not eat meat on Fridays in Lent (nor the rest of the year, but that’s a different story) I told her I’d take them home to my dogs, because they are not Catholics and love bacon.

Well people at the tables next to me laughed, and said, “Oh we forgot it was Friday” They put the remainder of their meat in takeaway boxes too.

I don’t think they sinned, even a venial sin, because they did not realize what they were doing and did not intend to disobey God or the lawful authority of the Church to command days of abstinence.

Yes it would be good to confess just to re-enforce the issue in your mind, and show humility and the desire to follow God and His Church. But I would not worry that your soul is in jeopardy because of it.

Notice, though, that in both your cases, you have the situation in which the obligation to abstain was dispensed by proper authority. In these cases, there’s “No Sin” only because a dispensation was given. In the OP’s case, no such event occurred… :wink:

Hi bardegaulois,

As you’ve no doubt noticed, you’ve gotten a wide range of opinions thus far. I’d take it to your confessor as soon as possible.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on venial. I don’t think there was full consent as you were trying to avoid eating meat, and only did so after ordering and not wanting to waste the meal.

But I would trust your confessor’s opinion over mine. This is enough of a “gray” area where it is hard to say for certain. Speaking of which, today’s Saturday, so you should hopefully be able to find a church nearby that offers confession! :wink:

God bless!

Could you have pushed the pieces of ham to the side and still finished the rest of the meal?

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