Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

A relative claims that years ago, eating meat on Fridays during Lent was considered a mortal sin and that the Church eventually downgraded this offense. He stated:

"I thought eternal damnation was a bit harsh for a bite of baloney on Friday night just before midnight."

  • Was this the Church's stance?
  • If so, when was it changed and why?


  { Was this the Church's stance on eating meat on Friday and, if so, when did it change, and why? }

Paul replied:

Dear Anonymous,

The law of eating no meat on all Fridays of the year was a Church disciplinary law, not a divine law, that was promulgated by the authority of Christ through His Church for the good of the Church at a given time.

It was a sign of penitence commemorating our Master's passion and death on Good Friday. Unlike the unchanging law of God that is applicable to everybody, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, this church law applied strictly to Catholics; and Church authority (the bishops), are given the power by Christ to change a law at any given time.

While Church disciplinary laws are in force, they are obligatory for every Catholic. Therefore, if a Catholic intentionally ate meat on a Friday due to no serious reason (of health, weakness, etc.), knowing that it was the authority of Christ through His Church that required him not to, then it would make sense that their choice was a rejection of Christ although mitigating circumstances could have lessened the guilt, it was objectively wrong.

Today this Church law has been altered to not eating meat on the Fridays during the season of Lent as well as on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, as a sacrifice, uniting ourselves to Christ on the Cross.


Anonymous replied:

Paul —

  • So would this be a mortal or venial sin?


Paul replied:


It depends. If there was no serious reason for having to eat meat that day, and if the person knew it was wrong, believing they were rejecting Christ in doing so, yet freely choosing to do so anyway, then it could have been a mortal sin.

But remember, whether one is guilty of venial or mortal sin, Christ awaits the repentant heart to receive His forgiveness.


Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.