Q. I’ve enjoyed fish fries on the Fridays of Lent this year. I mentioned to a friend that I plan to continue abstaining from meat on Fridays, after Lent, when possible. My friend told me that meatless Fridays are actually a requirement of the Church, all year. Is this true? Are Catholics required to abstain from meat on Fridays throughout the entire year?
A. The Church requires most Catholics to abstain from meat during the Fridays in Lent. In the United States, Catholics are encouraged to abstain from meat during all Fridays of the year, as a special penance, in memory of Jesus Christ’s passion and death.
Catholics in the United States are not required to abstain from meat on Friday. However, they are required to undertake some form of penance— through fast or abstinence, through prayer, works of mercy, acts of charity, or in some other way. The Church invites Catholics to make Friday— every Friday—a brief Lenten period of reflection, repentance, and penance.
Even when we are in seasons of great feast, we should remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every Friday is a good time to turn from sin, and return to the Gospel.
Write to Ask the Register online or at 3700 Sheridan Blvd, Lincoln NE 68506-6100. All questions are subject to editing. Editors decide which questions to publish. Personal questions cannot be answered. People with such questions are urged to take them to their nearest Catholic priest.