Forming disciples of Jesus Christ in the Catholic heritage on the campus of western Carolina University


Lent is here, and along with it meatless Fridays (and Ash Wednesday, i m sorry is currently behind us). Several of you might no doubt be wondering if eating meat ~ above a Friday is yes, really such a huge deal. If you on slide up and have a ham sandwich, is that really a sin? The price is maybe yes and maybe no.

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First of all, we should acknowledge the there is naught objectively sinful around eating meat, or eat meat ~ above a specific day. In other words, the plot of eating meat in and of itself is not wrong, and also not enough to get your heart into any type of trouble with the Almighty.

Abstaining native meat ~ above Fridays is no a ethical teaching that the Catholic Church, ~ above par with not utilizing contraception, no committing adultery, or coveting your neighbor’s possessions. Abstaining native meat on Fridays is a discipline collection in place by the Catholic Church for the spiritual good of the faithful. It is a technique which the Church can (and has) readjusted depending top top the demands of the certain time and also place.

So if girlfriend eat meat ~ above a Friday the sinful thing is no the eating of the meat itself, yet the disobedience to what the Church is asking us to perform as a matter of discipline.

Let’s imagine three different circumstances. In the first instance, you understand the Church claims Catholics must not eat meat top top Fridays during Lent yet you don’t yes, really care. Girlfriend fail to check out why it’s together a large deal, and don’t see any type of need to change your normal Friday cheeseburger habit simply due to the fact that the Church states it’s a penitential season, the Christ passed away on a Friday, or whatever other rash the Church walk on about. You space going to perform what you want to do and also eat what you desire to eat. So there!

Is this a sin? Yes, that is; and a serious one. Yet the sin is no in the eating of meat; it is in the total disobedience to the Church and also disrespect for her authority come guide, govern and also teach us in the means of holiness.

Now let’s imagine a second scenario. Again, you know that the Church expects Catholics come abstain native meat on Fridays and you desire to obey the Church in this and also respect the discipline. Yet as you are getting ready because that bed it suddenly dawns on girlfriend that today is Friday and also you totally had a cheeseburger for lunch and also didn’t also think around it. That was not your intention come disobey the Church, you simply forgot all about it. Is this a sin? most likely a small one, yes. The sin is no as serious as willfully disobeying the Church. This smaller sized sin is one of neglect. Component of the factor why the Church asks united state to note Fridays by refraining from eating meat is come remember that on today Christ passed away for our sins, and also therefore it is great for united state to store it together a work of penance. If us forget what day it is, or that we are expected to carry out penance ~ above this day, then we have become too distracted by other things and also need to effort to keep God in very first place in ours lives.

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In the 3rd scenario you are aware of the Church’s self-control of abstaining from meat, you understand it’s Friday, and also you are all set to execute without meat and keep Friday together a job of penance. You walk to Taco-Bell for lunch and order a plain bean burrito. You take it your an initial bite and also think to yourself how particularly yummy these beans taste… climate you realize, this is beef! They offered you the wrong order! have actually you sinned by eat meat on Friday? No, you have actually not. That was not your will to disobey the Church by eating meat. Sin requires active engagement of her will. You cannot accidentally sin. Now, if you decide at this point that friend don’t really care and keep eating your beef burrito, that’s another matter. Yet eating meat through accident is not sinful.

And prior to I close, a small FYI… go you understand that every Friday throughout the year is a work of penance, not just throughout Lent? follow to the code of Canon law (which is binding on every Catholics), “Abstinence native meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be it was observed on all Fridays, uneven a solemnity loss on a Friday” (Can. 1251). Below in the joined States, our bishops’ conference has established that exterior of Lent, Catholics are allowed to substitute some other type of penance in location of abstaining from meat if lock desire – but you still need to do something together a penance top top a Friday. You space not turn off the hook! throughout Lent, it’s no an option, and you have to provide up meat on Fridays (and Ash Wednesday).

Ash Wednesday and good Friday are also days the fasting, yet that’s an additional post!