Fasting and abstinence in the Roman Catholic Church

Fasting And Abstinence In The Roman Catholic Church

Fasting and abstinence in the Roman Catholic Church

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For Roman Catholics, fasting is the reduction of one's intake of food to one full meal a day. This may or may not be accompanied by abstinence from meat when eating. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that all people are obliged by God to perform some penance for their sins, and that these acts of penance are both personal and corporate. The purpose of fasting is spiritual focus, self discipline, imitation of Christ, and performing penance; it in no way stems from a concept that the material world is in some sense evil. The Catholic Church requires Catholics to observe the discipline of abstaining at various times each year, especially during Lent. Abstinence is asked throughout the year on Fridays, though the bishops' conferences in some areas allow other penitential acts (e.g., prayer, abstinence from another food, giving up something like TV). During Lent, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, both abstinence and fasting are required of Catholics who are not exempted for various reasons. Contemporary Roman legislation is rooted in the 1966 Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, Paenitemini. Members of the Eastern Catholic Churches are obliged to follow the discipline of their own particular church.

The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat popularized the Friday fish fry.

Western practice

Current Canon Law requires that on the days of mandatory fasting, Catholics may eat only one full meal during the day.<ref...
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