Are Fridays still days of abstinence?

Yes! They are!

For Latin Rite Catholics, the Code of Canon Law sets down the following rules concerning fast and abstinence:

Now in the United States, the U.S. Bishops conference obtained the permission of the Holy See for Catholics in the US to substitute a penitential, or even a charitable, practice of their own choosing for the weekly Friday observance. However, during the time of Lent, the law of abstinence is applied for Fridays. This rule is for all Catholics 14 years of age and older. In honor of Our Lord's Passion, one is asked to refrain from eating meat. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.

Also, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics from the ages of 18 to 59 are asked to fast. Fasting is defined as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.

Exceptions from fasting are made for the following:

The key is to use common sense, and to remember that your are fasting to show your love for God and to grow closer to the Creator.  

- Deacon George Kozak (6/01)

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