Should the Church change the no meat on Friday rule?


Often I enjoy eating fish more than meat. In addition, fish costs more than meat in my area. Should the Church change the rule about no meat on Fridays?


It is only on Fridays during Lent that you have to abstain from eating meat. On all the other Fridays during the year you can choose what penance you want to do.


That isn’t the point. Do you think the rule should be changed?


No. You have not provided any valid reason for changing. God requires us to fast, hence the Church requires it. Besides, medical science has proven in seprate studies that fasting and eating fish is good for you. So what’s the beef?


I thought the idea of abstaining from meat is to abstain from luxuries. (Once upon a time, a meat meal was for the affluent.)

My understanding is that nowadays the church only asks you to abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The church loves tradition and I don’t think they’ll relax that tradition any further.

All other abstaining and penances that you do is voluntary. Personally, if fish is the expensive meal in your neighbourhood, then perhaps you should abstain from fish to bring yourself out of an affluent lifestyle. :twocents:

P.S. Abstaining from meat does not mean you have to eat fish. And abstaining from meat to eat lobster, prawns, and oysters, is kind of missing the point.


Perhaps in the United States the Church could mandate abstaining from television on Fridays. That would be more of a sacrifice.



Oh how about an actual fast… as in no food for a meal? Jesus fasted 40 days, one meal shouldn’t be so much.


I think you meant that Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only days that we are required to fast. Abstaining from meat is every Friday during Lent.
**Incidentally, I agree with your lobster and prawns analogy.:thumbsup: **




why? the church does not have an “eat fish on Friday rule” so what is the problem?


I have a serious question on this Friday no meat rule that I urgently need advice on. Seeing as it’s Friday morning in Lent now, I only have a few hours to get sorted out on this.

I’m becoming Catholic, and I want to hold to Catholic teachings on this. My family is Protestant. Fridays, we eat essentially a feast, the most delicious homemade pizza any of you ever ate, or chimi changas, a fabulous Mexican meal that involves meat. These are the most delicious meals we serve at our house, and it is tradition for us to eat them on Fridays, the only days when we can make them. I am one of the principle people involved in making these meals.

I am quite prepared to give them up myself, and yet still do my share in making them for the family. However, because I usually eat a significant part of them, the leftovers from my portion would fill up a lot of refrigerator space. My Mom thinks that if I started participating in this tradition while living in our household, it would be disruptive.

I personally would rather fast Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from all meals than fast from the Friday meal, because it is so, SO good. But that is not the point. God is the point, so from a personal perspective, yes, I am willing to give this up for him during Lent.

However, if this would be a serious hassle for my family, as my Mom makes a lot of the food and we might have trouble with storage or other things, I might not be sufficiently fulfilling the requirement of “love they neighbor,” and putting the interests of others above oneself.

It might be seriously disruptive to our schedule and my family if I went through with this, and I am called to think of others before myself. Does that apply to this spiritual principle too, though?

I can see how symbolically this fast would be very important. I would be sacrificing one of the very best parts of my week for God, which symbolizes leaving the world’s interests and the desires of the flesh for Christ. However, I don’t know if I’m justified in putting my own interests on this above those of my family.

There lies my dilemma. Please respond soon! I only have a few hours before I have to make my final decision on this.


Leif: are you in Scandinavia? Just curious… I know, OT, but I wanted to ask.


The reason Friday was chosen is that it is the day of the Crucifixion. If it were no burden, it would not be a penance.

Solution: Fast from meat. Since you are helping to prepare the meal, do not make as much as us usually prepared.

There are meatless (and delicious) pizzas.
There are bean chimi’s (no meat)

You just need to identify which ones are to be consumed in honor of the salvation given us by the Lord, and restrict yourself to eating these.


Remember the spirit of the rule along with the letter. If eating fish isn’t penitential for you, eat salad, or bread and herbs or some vegetables you don’t like, etc., etc. You shouldn’t try to eat as decadently as possible while just following the letter and avoiding meat.


Guys, I found a solution, or a partial one, for my problem. It’ll be fixed now. I’m going to go without meat, and I don’t think it’ll interfere with my family.

[quote=imamom]Leif: are you in Scandinavia? Just curious… I know, OT, but I wanted to ask.

Nope; California :).

I never complained about how “heavy” this is. I see it as a wonderful opportunity to show God my love. My question was not with how hard it is for me to abstain from this dish (I was just showing off when I mentioned that), but about whether it’s valid for me to cause problems to my family (such as us having insufficient storage space for the food) in the practice of my devotion to God.

I think I’ve got a good solution now, though.

Thanks :).

[quote=Genesis315]Remember the spirit of the rule along with the letter. If eating fish isn’t penitential for you, eat salad, or bread and herbs or some vegetables you don’t like, etc., etc. You shouldn’t try to eat as decadently as possible while just following the letter and avoiding meat.

Yeah, I agree.


I think my Church is just fine the way she is, thank you very much.

Why in the world people are constantly wanting to remake Christ’s Church in their own image is totally beyond me. :rolleyes:



I agree 100%. If fish is too much a luxury, how about eating tofu!:eek:


Ironically, I know Catholic families who take the “no meat of Friday” rule during Lent as an excuse to eat out and “celebrate lent” with a hearty 5 course gourmet seafood dinner at a nice restaurant. It’s amazing how far removed from the underlying purpose some Catholics get and end up losing the entire purpose and reasoning behind the season of penitential self-reflection.

I would personally rather we not give up the restriction of eating meat on Friday.

But, if we wanted to entertain changing the rule I’d prefer we let individuals have some discretion to decide if they might rather fast on Friday’s of Lent by having only 2 small sustaining meals and 1 regular meal of any kind (meat or not).

This way one could fast during the day and attend Friday social gatherings (usually evenings) where non-Catholic hosts served dinners with meats. It would be easier to remain social and not burden the hospitality of non-Catholic hosts by forcing them to cater to our religious traditions or not invite us. The other delimma we often get into during Lent is having to draw attention to ourselves by saying “sorry, I know you went to a lot of trouble to cook (that meat dish) but I can’t eat that since I am Catholic and this is Lent”. This kind of thing can make non-Catholics uncomfortable or make them feel like Catholics are imposing a higher moral condition on them by our presence.

Of course there is also an argument to be made that during Lent we should be more in a state of somber penitential self-reflection than in a festive and social mindset. But sometimes depending on station in life our jobs and career require a certain amount of social networking so it would be a nice option to manage where and when we can focus on self sacrifice without imposing that on others.



Abstaining from meat is not only about sacrificing a luxury. It also calls to mind Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Christ gave up his flesh for us on Good Friday. That is why it is appropriate for us to give up eating meat (i.e. carnis or “flesh”) on Fridays (as each Friday is a day for us to call to mind Christ’s crucifixion in a particular way). If the Church decided to just swap it out for fish (or something else), it wouldn’t have this same spiritual significance.


The purpose of meatless Fridays is supposed to be making a sacrifice and being mindful of Christs suffering. It seems to me it’s accomplishing that, don’t you.

Also, meatless dishes don’t have to be expensive.

Fettuccini Alfredo, Pasta marinara, Egg plant parmagana. I love Italian food.

Frejoles con questo, Potatoe rice and bean burritos, Bell pepers dipped in egg batter. I love Mexican food too.

There are endless recipies for meatless dishes.

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