Should my 7 year old godchild abstain from meat?

This question arose today and our grandmother said that since she is ONLY baptized (she doesn’t have any other sacrament) and she is young, she doesn’t need to abstain… is it true? does the canon law specify this issue?

Canon 1252

All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.

So no, your 7 year old Godchild does not have to abstain from meat. We however, make our kids refrain from meat, there is enough for them to eat without having meat. Peanut butter sandwiches and french toast is what they ate today.

Kids 14 and older have to abstain - but not those who are younger.

Can. 1252: The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.

One is not required to fast or abstain below the age of 14 or over the age of… 60?
Also, nursing or pregnant or sick or doing heavy physical work, or any other condition which one’s pastor feels sufficient for dispensation.

However, it has no bearing on the number of sacraments one has received. Older children often receive all the sacraments if the whole family converts (odd but true!), but are still not required to fadt or abstain.

Our children always abstained with us; it’s not like they are forbidden to, but what with children’s being in school, etc, it is helpful that they are not under obedience.

Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

That said, with all the food choices we have today, there’s little reason not to introduce children to the same meatless meals that the rest of the family is eating. Granted some little ones don’t like seafood, but nice cheese and veggie omelette, vegetarian pizza, a rich vegetable soup with crusty garlic bread… the list is endless.

Whether one is only baptized or has the other sacraments has on bearing on the issue. The ages for fasting and abstinence are as the posters above have described, and bind all baptized Catholics whether or not any other sacrament have been received. Note in particular that there is no upper age limit for abstinence from meat, only for fasting.

As explained above, and to us in RCIA, no they wouldn’t because of age and the reason for the age is that confirmation seems to have moved up in age or something like that.

But, to my fuzzy little mind, I would have them abstain. My kids obstain now even though they don’t need to, and have in previous years participated in lent as well. I just do not see how, if you don’t start them doing something till age 14, they will have developed it as a habit before they fly the nest.

I agree. My kids abstain from meat every Friday throughout the whole year except on solemnities, and have since they were born. It’s just what we do in our house. If they don’t start until 14 and only do it during Lent, they will have only skipped meat about 30 times in their whole lives by the time they turn 18. Some spirit of penance…

I… Go with the flow with my six year old. IF she will have what I am having (today was macaroni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches) then she has it. But I don’t force her today. I do though want her to understand and to participate to the best of her ability and age. So for the most part she abstains too.

I thought for some reason it started at seven also so this post was totally helpful!

The old rule was abstain starting at 7 and fast starting at 21; a lot of people still believe that is the rule (or want it to still be the rule so they say that it is). But what was posted above is the current law of the Church.

My kids abstain even though they’re all under 14. They go to Catholic school, and always have cheese pizza for lunch on Lenten Fridays, they never eat meat (bacon or sausage) for breakfast during the week, and I’m certainly not going to make them their own meal with meat when dh and I are abstaining! LIke another poster said, it’s not that difficult for a kid to abstain, it’s not going to hurt them any.

In Christ,
Ellen

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