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Fasting and Abstinence

Abstinence from Meat

All Catholics 14 years and older must abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday. The law of abstinence prohibits eating the flesh, marrow, and blood products of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat. In earlier times, the law of abstinence also forbade such foods that originated from such animals, such as milk, butter, cheese, eggs, lard, and sauces made from animal fat. This restriction is no longer in force in the Roman rite. Vegetables as well as fish and similar cold-blooded animals (frogs, clams, turtles, etc.) may be eaten. Amphibians are relegated to the category to which they bear most striking resemblance.

 

Fasting

All Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Church's current law of fasting permits only one full meal per day, and two lighter meals that together equal less than a full meal. While the consumption of solid food between meals is forbidden, liquids, including tea, coffee and juices, may be taken at any time.

The Eucharistic fast is for one hour before reception of Holy Communion and allows the taking of water and medicine only.

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