What's The Right Thing On Not Eating Meat First Fridays, Every Friday, I'm Confused!


#1

As one trying to be a good, faithful Catholic, I’m confused on the “not eating meat” thing. Are we supposed to refrain from such only on “first Fridays” now? or is it every Friday? Are there some other things we should be following as far as fasting on Holy Days, etc.? We were never taught this in RCIA.
Thank you.


#2

[quote=sparkle]As one trying to be a good, faithful Catholic, I’m confused on the “not eating meat” thing. Are we supposed to refrain from such only on “first Fridays” now? or is it every Friday? Are there some other things we should be following as far as fasting on Holy Days, etc.? We were never taught this in RCIA.
Thank you.
[/quote]

The no meat Friday is still in force, but it was changed to allow for other types of fasts/penances instead. Friday is a penitential day no matter what we decide to do for that penance. In our home, we refrain from eating red meats, but that is our personal choice. Only during Lent is everyone expected to refrain from eating any meat, and there are exceptions even in that, such as health issues, etc.

First Fridays is a private devotion that you are not required to follow. There are many such private devotions, but you are only required to follow what is in place for the whole Church unless you wish to follow one of the private devotions, such as first Fridays.

There is so much richness in Catholic practice and devotions that it’s no wonder this wasn’t covered in RCIA. Usually your parish bulletin will have instructions about fasts and feasts. We fast before we feast, you see. The cross before the crown. So, if you are going to keep a feast day, fast the day before. Fasting usually entails eating only two light meals, but exceptions can be made for those with health issues. I hope that helps! :slight_smile:


#3

[quote=sparkle]As one trying to be a good, faithful Catholic, I’m confused on the “not eating meat” thing. Are we supposed to refrain from such only on “first Fridays” now? or is it every Friday? Are there some other things we should be following as far as fasting on Holy Days, etc.? We were never taught this in RCIA.
Thank you.
[/quote]

WE are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent. That is the only required abstinence from meat. All Fridays of the year are penitential days and some form of penance should be followed, however what this is, is no longer specified by Church law.


#4

Its my understanding that you are required to abstain from eating meat on all Fridays of the year, and then Ash Wednesday and Good Friday you are required to fast which means not eating meat and cutting out at least one main meal as well.


#5

Can anyone provide links or sources to instructions regarding this topic in the CCC or other official Church documents please?

1438 of the CCC seems to indicate each Friday, but I’ve been instructed by other Catholics that it is only during Lent…

The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).


#6

Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic Dictionary, and The Catechism of the Catholic Church.


#7

Those are all very good, but as they are so broad, I was hoping for something a bit more specific. Several articles are written on the topic, and it is addressed in multiple places. For newcomers to the Church, we may not be able to find the nitty gritty details that so instruct us.

For example, the section I posted from the CCC addresses it, but perhaps there is a more appropriate reference that may be beneficial. Additionally, among the various councils that have met in history, have any of them addressed this specifically?


#8

They are very specific and tell you that are required to abstain from eating meat on all Fridays of the year, and then Ash Wednesday and Good Friday you are required to fast which means not eating meat and cutting out at least one main meal as well. How much more detail is needed?


#9

OK,
We are obliged to abstain (not eat) from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. We are obliged to do some penetential act on all Fridays of the year. Before Vatican II, Catholics were required to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. After Vatican II, the American Bishops received permission to change the obligation to some form of penance on Fridays. Many choose to abstain from meat, others may choose some other form of penance, but we ARE obliged to do some form of penance on all Fridays of the year. The rule of fasting applys only to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means no more than 2 full meals during the day and no eating between meals.
Hope this helps.
Peace,
Linda


#10

[quote=LindaS]OK,
We are obliged to abstain (not eat) from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. We are obliged to do some penetential act on all Fridays of the year. Before Vatican II, Catholics were required to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. After Vatican II, the American Bishops received permission to change the obligation to some form of penance on Fridays. Many choose to abstain from meat, others may choose some other form of penance, but we ARE obliged to do some form of penance on all Fridays of the year. The rule of fasting applys only to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means no more than 2 full meals during the day and no eating between meals.
Hope this helps.
Peace,
Linda
[/quote]

Thank you, Linda. I appreciate the specific references to history and the description of the process by which we came to the understanding we have of this currently. I will continue to research this and provide links as I find them.

Pax tecum, Linda. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote=LindaS]OK,
We are obliged to abstain (not eat) from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. We are obliged to do some penetential act on all Fridays of the year. Before Vatican II, Catholics were required to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year. After Vatican II, the American Bishops received permission to change the obligation to some form of penance on Fridays. Many choose to abstain from meat, others may choose some other form of penance, but we ARE obliged to do some form of penance on all Fridays of the year. The rule of fasting applys only to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means no more than 2 full meals during the day and no eating between meals.
Hope this helps.
Peace,
Linda
[/quote]

Isn’t that what I said? The only thing I didn’t mention was any form of penance on Fridays because abstaining from meat is the penance. I think the norm is abstaining from meat or some other form of penance which presumably makes sense if someone is a vegetarian.


#12

[quote=Akanke]Can anyone provide links or sources to instructions regarding this topic in the CCC or other official Church documents please?

[/quote]

I wouldn’t go to the online version of the Catholic encyclopedia, since it admirably reflects the situation in the early 1900s but not the present state of affairs. It’s excellent for a theological and historical perspective though.

Canon 1251 “Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But the law gives the national conference of bishops the authority to make some further specification in this matter. Canon 1253: “It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.”

The more precise determination was made for this country through “On Penance and Abstinence, Pastoral Statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops” (November 18, 1966) It is available at catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=5303 .

When the new code became effective in 1983, this determination was not abrogated and continued in force. On this, see usccb.org/norms/12521253.htm . You will find the apostolic constitution it references, Paenitemini (Apostolic Constitution On Penance), at adoremus.org/PaulVI-Penance.html

That should give you a start.


#13

[quote=thistle]Isn’t that what I said? The only thing I didn’t mention was any form of penance on Fridays because abstaining from meat is the penance. I think the norm is abstaining from meat or some other form of penance which presumably makes sense if someone is a vegetarian.
[/quote]

The difference is that Linda explained the part about Vatican II. Given the wonderful history of the Church, there is a lot to search to figure how this became such a confusing matter.

It may help you to understand why I wanted to know the specific things like Vatican II or specific links (for which I’m still looking…currently reading documents on EWTN)–history is what brought me to the Church. I know some who found Rome by the road that comes from Judaism. I found it by backtracking from Protestantism, and it was history that led me there.

I meant no disrespect, and I hope none was taken. However, I understood no more from what you said than I understood from Paragraph 1438 of the CCC. However, I appreciate your quick responses and eager input. :slight_smile:

Pax vobiscum.


#14

My apologies to you and Linda. I misunderstood.
I thought you simply wanted to know which were the days of abstenance and fasting and what you had to do on these days.
God Bless.


#15

OK then. So does this mean for me, a new Catholic, then it is advisable to abstain from meat EVERY Friday, and to fast all Fridays during Lent?

Thank you so much. I feel so stupid and uninformed, when my H who is not even a Catholic said, “aren’t Catholics supposed to fast on Fridays”? Gosh–I didn’t know what to say…

Thank you.

:smiley:


#16

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]WE are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent. That is the only required abstinence from meat. All Fridays of the year are penitential days and some form of penance should be followed, however what this is, is no longer specified by Church law.
[/quote]

From the US Bishops:

Among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance which we especially commend to our people for the future observance of Friday, even though we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday, we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat. We do so in the hope that the Catholic community will ordinarily continue to abstain from meat by free choice as formerly we did in obedience to Church law.

The bottom line, for the original poster, is that Friday penance is STILL required under pain of sin. You can perform any type of penance you choose, however, you are encouraged to observe meat abstinence as the preferred form of penance.


#17

[quote=Scotty PGH]From the US Bishops:

The bottom line, for the original poster, is that Friday penance is STILL required under pain of sin. You can perform any type of penance you choose, however, you are encouraged to observe meat abstinence as the preferred form of penance.
[/quote]

THANK YOU Scotty!!! You’re a dear~~:D


#18

Thanks to everyone for such excellent replies and clarification!


#19

You have to differentiate between abstaining and fasting.
Fasting is limiting food and drink intake. This is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Previously you had to only take one meal on these days but now you are allowed to take one main meal and two lesser meals which together must not equal the main meal. What I do is eat breakfast and lunch, and simply have bread and water for dinner. No eating between meals. Additionally on these two days you must also abstain from eating meat so you have both abstenance and fasting on these days.
On Fridays during Lent you must abstain from eating meat.
On all other Fridays of the year you previously had to abstain from meat but now you may either abstain from meat, or you may fast, or make some other form of sacrifice. Personally I simply do not eat meat on Fridays.


#20

[quote=Akanke]Can anyone provide links or sources to instructions regarding this topic in the CCC or other official Church documents please?

1438 of the CCC seems to indicate each Friday, but I’ve been instructed by other Catholics that it is only during Lent…

The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).
[/quote]

That is correct it is required on Fridays during Lent. It is recomended on the other Fridays.


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