Does abstinence from meat include byproducts of animals, such as eggs, cheese, and milk?

Full Question

Does abstinence from meat include byproducts of animals, such as eggs, cheese, and milk?

Answer

At one time Lenten abstinence from meat was much stricter than it is today. In the past, Catholics did fast from meat byproducts as well as from meat. That is why there arose in some areas in the West the tradition of Fat Tuesday, the day that preceded the opening of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Catholics would clean out their pantries of meat byproducts by using them in special meals on that Tuesday before Lent. Even today in England, there is a tradition of pancake races on Fat Tuesday in honor of the one-time custom of making pancakes on this day to use up milk, eggs, and butter.

Such Lenten abstinence from meat byproducts is no longer required for Latin-rite Catholics, although it is still mandatory in Eastern churches that are in union with Rome.













2 comments

  1. Charles Toshney Reply

    At what age do Catholics become exempt from Lenten fasting and abstinence?

    1. Jen Reply

      From what I have been taught, once a child is confirmed they have to abstain from meat, and once they turn 17 they should fast. One is exempt from these practices if they have medical issues in which they must eat meat or cannot fast. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe at the age of 65 one is no longer required to abstain and fast.

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