Friday, January 14, 2011

Meat On Fridays

I'd like to ask my Catholic followers some questions.

Do you eat meat on Fridays?

If you do, do you make any other sacrifice instead?

Do you know that abstaining from eating meat on Fridays was never truly done away with?

Canon 1251
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Before I converted it was explained to me like this: if you do not want to give up meat than you can give up something else that qualifies as a sacrifice.

Now the way I see it is, unless you have some sort of addiction, like smoking (all I can think of), then what could possibly replace abstaining from eating meat, and would you remember the alternate sacrifice every week? I believe you would have to pick ONE thing and do it every Friday, no changing week to week out of convenience, otherwise what's the point?

Some may think it's not that hard having meatless Fridays, and maybe once upon a time it wasn't, but nowadays it gets a little tricky, but that's where the word sacrifice comes in.

The act of not eating meat one day a week shows a great level of discipline and control, and I think even gratitude.

What is so wrong with making a small sacrifice for the BIG sacrifice HE made on Good Friday?

I would like to hear some feedback on this...


  1. Molly,

    Great post, well said. I grew up in a house where meat was never allowed on Fridays, and I still don't eat meat on Fridays. Strangely enough though, it's still a sacrifice. You'd think by this time it would be routine, or a mindless habit, but it still requires an act of self-denial every week.

    Which, as you said, is the purpose.

  2. Molly, I've read off and on but don't know if I've ever commented...enjoying your blog though.
    Several years ago, my husband Andy found somewhere also that not eating meat on Fridays was never done away with... though I believe the US bishops made an exception for people in the US (? could be wrong), but our feeling is why should we be the exception? Why is it ok for people in this country to eat meat while all other Catholics are challenged to make that sacrifice?... I totally agree with what you said. For me, it's not a great sacrifice because I like fish and meat-free entrees; there is a little inconvenience in thinking of something to eat for dinner at times... but at this point my husband usually takes care of that.

  3. Molly,

    I also abstain from eating meat most Fridays, and I notice that it does take some thought and sacrifice, especially when choosing lunch in a cafeteria with a large variety of great food like they have where I work. But I can usually find something very good that I like (they have their own pizza oven and a great salad bar), so the sacrifice is quite short-lived.
    But there are other ways to abstain that may take more sacrifice: how many of us can go a whole day without television, especially on days when a favorite show is on? Or refrain from turning on the car radio? Or give up Facebook and Twitter? There are actually lots of things in our lives that are 'addictions' in the sense that we are so used to them, and abstaining from them for a day would leave a big void. I sometimes think that would be a greater sacrifice, since the effort and thought is more long-lasting.

  4. I do try not to eat meat on Fridays during the year, and refrain from desserts and sweets sometimes too.

    If circumstances (during Ordinary Time) mean I eat meat (such as a meal being prepared for me), I will maybe pray the Stations of the Cross or do some other extra prayer to honour the Passion, or maybe just refrain from dessert.

    Good post!

  5. This is a topic that has caused much controversy on my husband's side of the family. His sister doesn't seem to believe us that abstaining from meat on Fridays was never done away with, and her whole argument is, "Well, it REALLY wouldn't be that much of a sacrifice anyways since I could go a day without why do it if it's not a sacrifice?" My husband's reply: "There's merit in doing things simply because we're supposed to do them. And if it's not that big of a deal, why are you fighting so much against it?"

    We abstain on Fridays throughout the year and during Lent. I think it's one of those things that has just been "allowed" to happen in our country, like everything else.


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