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Abraham Paskarela wrote:

Dear AskACatholic,


My name is Abraham and I am from Indonesia. I would like to ask a question about fasting.

In recent articles I have read, it says that there are various ways to fast.

  • Some say, it is OK to drink as long as one abstains from any meal for twelve hours
  • Others say, there should be only one dish per day as long as one abstains from water and meals for the next twelve hours
  • And last, but not least, one said we should only eat vegetables (two to three times a day) for a period from a week to 40 days

  • So exactly which fasting is recommended according to Vatican?

Thanks for your time; I'm looking forward to your answer.

Be blessed. Thanks and regards,

Abraham Paskarel

  { Which fasting is recommended according to Vatican? }

Mike replied:

Dear Abraham,

Thanks for your question.

First, we have to distinguish between obligatory and non-obligatory fasting.

To my knowledge there are only two types of obligatory fasting the Church requires year-round.

  1. The pre-Holy Communion fast of one holy before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist, and
  2. the fasting that is required during the Lenten season on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as stated below:

    Everyone 18 years old but not yet 60 is bound to the law of fasting.
    Fasting means having only one full meal a day sufficient to maintain one's strength.
    Two other meatless meals are allowed but are to be penitential and light.

The Church encourages non-obligatory fasting for purposes of penance, but would warn against "over doing it". If one wishes to take fasting seriously, they should do so under the guidance of a spiritual director, meaning a priest.

As to which fasting is recommended by the Vatican, on issues like these, the Vatican would always turn to the local diocese for their opinion and guidance for reasons of country and culture.

You can find information for your diocese here:

Indonesia - Statistics by Diocese by Catholic Population

This related posting should help as well:

Hope this helps,


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