Thursday, February 4, 2016

"The time will come when ... they will fast": Catholic Church Regulations for fasting and abstinence from meat during Lent

"But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast." Luke 5, 35

The Catholic Church binds all the faithful of age under the pain of sin to abide by the regulations for fasting and abstinence during Lent. If one knowingly chooses not to fast or abstain that person must sacramentally confess it as a grave sin.
The regulations for the universal Church are the following:
  • Everyone 14 years of age or older is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.

  • Everyone 18 or older, and under 59 years of age, is bound to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

  • On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, only one full meatless meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.

  • Catholics should not lightly excuse themselves from these prescribed minimal penitential practices.

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