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Scott P. Richert

Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Fridays?

By February 28, 2014

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The first Friday of Lent falls one week from today, and, like all Fridays during Lent, it will be a day of abstinence. All Catholics over the age of 14 are required to abstain from meat and from food made with meat. (For more details, see What Are the Rules for Fasting and Abstinence in the Catholic Church?)

Most people know that Catholics used to abstain from meat on every Friday of the year, but did you know that the Church still encourages us to do so? Learn a little more about the history and current practice of abstinence in Abstinence as Spiritual Discipline.

And if you're looking for meatless Lent recipes, make sure to try out these Lenten Recipes: Meatless Recipes for Lent and Throughout the Year, a collection of delicious Lent recipes (and other meat-free recipes) from around the world.

More on Abstinence and Lent:

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December 7, 2008 at 6:32 pm
(1) john ware says:

i think pie is great. so great that we should have pie every day. what does pie have to do w/ being catholic u ask? completely nothing!!

ps pie is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 27, 2009 at 1:48 pm
(2) Val says:

unless its chicken pot pie…lol

April 5, 2009 at 12:37 am
(3) Kaitlyn says:

I love chicken!!!!! And i cant go a week with out it.But even though im only under 14 my mom makes me not eat meat on Friday.So i have to eat fish but i hate fish.But its worth it i guess.

March 11, 2011 at 11:29 am
(4) Wyatt says:

The observance is ok I think, as long it is not out of duty or a desire to feel like you’re more spiritual (there’s no value in it if that is the motive.)

How is it that so early on St. Paul reminded the church NOT to get ensnared by regulations Christ died to free them from, yet so many churches (Catholics just being one example) have just added new regulations and kept on adding and adding new ones. Oops! It all could have been avoided had they read Colossians (and Galatians and Romans…)

Colossians 2:13-17, 20-23

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

March 15, 2011 at 1:26 am
(5) Mary42 says:

Wow!! Wyatt. You do love translating the Holy Bible literally. The very thing St. Peter warned us about in his letter. If you read the lives and times of the Holy Saints to whom Jesus has revealed Himself, and the teachings and guidance He has given to them throughout the History of the Catholic Church, you will realize that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is based on Christ’s Truth and the Authority He bestowed upon His Church to teach and guide His Mystical Body as inspired by the Holy Spirit who is indwelling in the Church until the end of Time. God is Truth and God does not contradict Himself. Christ established His Church upon the Rock of Peter, gave Him the Keys of Heaven and commissioned him and the Apostles and their Succesors to out to the whole World and preach His Gospel to All Peoples teaching them all He had taught them, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and sustaining them with the Seven Sacraments He instituted, until the end of time. She has been, She is, and She will continue doing exactly that, faithfully and with absolute Fidelity to the Will of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

And Christ’s Church, being under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, cannot teach any errors nor contradict the Word of God in the Scriptures because the totality of the revealed Truth subsists in the Catholic Church.

April 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm
(6) open says:

What you do in faith, do it in faith.

October 30, 2011 at 12:43 pm
(7) mike says:

I always thought the catholic church was the church of satan.
Praying to mary, the pilgrimage to lourdes, denying female priests but accepting homosexual paedophiles, the list goes on and on and on etc. The more you look into it the vatican is the house of the devil. And no im not a blasphemer im a born again christian inspired by the holy spirit.

February 21, 2012 at 5:26 am
(8) yout for christ says:

Ok , but i didnot get the explanation for not eating meat. What i read tells me of the church customs. and a law not the reason. What then makes it wrong? or what sin is it one against the church rule or one against Christ?

February 22, 2012 at 8:23 am
(9) DaveB says:

Roman Catholics are a strange lot. They contradict the teachings of the Bible in countless areas. There foundation with the belief in the pope is so filled with history laiden facts of sin, corruption, secretcy and worship of idols. No wonder there was the Protestant Reformation. Hey, the catholics even have their own little city. How would Jesus feel about that when he never wore a head dress like the pope and he rode on a donkey, not a popemobile!. Jesus believed in giving to the poor, not building a city and extravant church buildings like the catholics. (by the way, the pope is elected—he could be anyone who has goods on someone else)

February 22, 2012 at 8:45 am
(10) Scott P. Richert says:

DaveB, you know who’s even stranger than Catholics? People who have nothing better to do on a Wednesday morning than to search out days-old blog posts to leave trolling comments.

February 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm
(11) carol says:

wow..i’m amazed that in today’s society…people from other religions still thing they are better than catholics..well you don’t sound any better than catholics by putting them/us down. every religiion has good points, lectures, etc.

the point of also not eating meat has another meaning also…remember when jesus christ was walking with the cross and he fell? he was thirsty and the romans instead of water gave him the fluids of a cow instead of water. that’s why he spit it back out. that’s when moses gave him water and looked up at him and moses knew who he was immediately…plus it’s a matter of respect..we don’t waste our time blogging..besides, it’s the internet, who wouldn’t be allowed to write what they want? it’s my laptop, i pay for my service, as a person not a catholic why not blog about your nasty ass opinions..

February 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm
(12) carol says:

also, you think you sound any better being another religion putting us down. what makes you better. yea there are pedophiles but that does not define all catholics. i understand. but, it’s no different than the recovering drug addicts who have abused and lost their children during their drug addictions then got arrested and suddenly decided to become a born again christian…ohhh wow praise the Lord..!

You know what else? it feels good to repent, and yes we will sin again, as you will as well.. because u know what? we are ultimately human, not saints, all we can do is try …try to be good people to eachother learn to live together and that is understood from any religion…you don’t have to be christian or protestant…the reason why he’s on the cross also, is to remind us how much he suffered and yes we need to be reminded because we are human and will forget the sacrifices he went through for us…it’s not about wanting to keep him up there..so stop bashing on us!!!! and as for the pope.. i don’t agree with a lot of stuff i see, even the vatican…

every catholic is like that…( sounds so ignorant) and i’m sure everyone has a church they contribute money to.

you know what to? i love the fact of being catholic coz i can sin and feel like i have to beat myself over it…coz i know God will forgive me and we know about guilt, and repentence. older testament of christianity is what it is…i’ve met some nice christians and some that claim to be and far more worse than a lot of regular people such as myself that don’t practice religion much…but i do defend catholics just like i would defend jehovah witnesses.. to each their own..but at least don’t offend them because it makes u look no better than them. respect is the best policy here. so stop talking mess!!

February 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm
(13) carol says:

btw i meant to say * i DON’T have to beat myself over it, or confess anything i don’t want to because ultimately it’s between me and my God.

that’s it…this catholic has to go and assist to save lives in a religious hospital that isn’t catholic. coz u know what? i don’t put other religions down.. i help them out and they help me out. point blank! g’bye!

February 23, 2012 at 6:45 am
(14) wendy says:

we as Christians, need to stop this. pointing figures at each other and argueing who is right or better.

Romans 14:1-4
“accept anyone who is week in faith, but dont argue about doubtful issues. One person believes he may eat anything, but one who is weak eats only vegetables. one who eats must not look down on one who does not eat; and one who does not eat must not criticise one who does, becuase God has accepted him.
Who are you to judge another man’s servent? Before his Lord he stands or falls. And stand he will! For the Lord is able to make him stand.”

So instead of pointing figures, one should do wat they believe is right by God, lead by example and pray that the Lord will guide all those who are in the wrong path!!!

February 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm
(15) Mani74 says:

interesting reading these posts. Wendy.. great post!!! with Lent just starting i decided to google eating meat and found alot of this arguying and diferent views. I also found when it first came into “law” and learned that it was not always that way. the eating meat thing. but it was something that the Pope at the time decided to make Law for all Catholics. Its only human to be curious, and find out why.. and we deserve to know.

i was raised catholic, and although i am no longer catholic, Jesus is and always will be my Lord and Savior. i will tell you this, that a Catholic family took me under their wing and made sure i got to church, when my parents didnt. they offered to pay for my Catholic school when my parents couldnt afford it. We cant judge the religeon as a whole becuae not everyone is like some of the things mentioned in the blog.

Then again.. i noticed someone posted about being a born again christian and everything being OK and thats not right either.. well.. honestly.. thats as simple as it gets.. Admit you are a sinner, Believe He died on the cross for all our sins, not just the little ones but the major ones too. and Confess to Him that He is the Lord of your life.”

March 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm
(16) dutch says:

I don’t eat meat at all. Sometimes I eat only fruit and veggies for days at a time.

November 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm
(17) Tracy says:

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

February 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm
(18) mahonnath says:

love of God and love of neighbor is the basis of christian life, so, let us unite one another in CHRIST JESUS, therefore we can be called children of GOD. by seeing us other people come to believe in the LORD… let all Christians(Catholics, protestants and other denominations) become witness ( not for argue or fight each other) for CHRIST JESUS…

February 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm
(19) painlessly obvious says:

newsflash………fish IS meat.

February 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm
(20) Scott P. Richert says:

Well, something is painfully obvious. Words have historical meanings, and historically, meat did not include the flesh of fish. That some who eschew all flesh today wish to redefine the word does not mean that those who adhere to the traditional definition must do so also.

February 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm
(21) Mathew says:

Today I had fish. Is it OK.

March 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm
(22) Jen says:

Love some of the posts found some to be a bit hateful. I am catholic and I don’t eat meat on Fridays but I don’t do it to separate my self from my non catholic Christian brothers and sisters. I don’t do it because the pope tells me to I do it because Jesus sacrificed so much for all who believe that it is just one small thing I can do to acknowledge that I am thankful. Who ever gives thanks and praise to god does it perfectly no matter how they do it. Peace to all.

March 23, 2013 at 12:39 am
(23) Lapsed Catholic says:

Answer the question! You never answered the damn question!

March 26, 2013 at 12:54 am
(24) raykie says:

U know what people will never understand the catholic faith they will always have bad commends about our church I’m a proud catholic was born one and I will die one go thru all ur gospel maybe u’ll understand what catholic are all about. FIY we ast during lent its our time of arms giving and every single friday we eat fish good friday we fast the hole and only eat after 3. So please next tme get ur facts straight before u are being judgemental maybe u should become a catholic then u’ll understand

September 17, 2013 at 12:19 am
(25) Will says:

So you know, Mary42 when Christ said upon this rock, he was pointing to himself, not Peter! The Church could never be founded on a mere human, but upon the perfect body of Christ!

March 5, 2014 at 10:35 am
(26) JEM1024 says:


Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus was pointing to himself? What errant translation are you using to make up this story? Your argument denies the power of Christ. Are you saying that Christ did not have the power to found the Church and appoint Peter to lead it and thus begin a succession of leaders? Who are you to deny the power of Christ?


How is praying to Mary satanic? Have not heard of someone asking for you to pray for them? Are we not allowed to pray to Mary and ask for her intercession? When you pray for someone are you not praying to God to help them just the same? How are pilgrimages satanic? Honestly, I am not sure what to say about this one as it is so ludicrous it makes no sense. How is denying female priests satanic? Once again, I think you are not clear on what satanic means. When has the church accepted homosexual pedophiles? First, homosexuality is not indicative of being a pedophile so your combining of the two clearly shows your lack of skill in formulating a coherent argument. Second, the Church did not accept pedophiles, sinners and criminals who should pay for their crimes did.

I am happy you are a born again Christian Mike… but let me ask you… are you sure you have a guarantee of salvation? I am sure that you have sinned since you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior as it would be impossible to not have sinned. So as you have sinned, how can you get into Heaven when Revelations 21:27 clearly states that nothing unclean shall enter? You take the Bible literally right? If so, how are you getting into Heaven with sins on your soul when Revelations 21:27 says that you cannot? Think about that while you are attacking another Christian faith.

March 7, 2014 at 10:20 am
(27) John says:

I think you can praise God in so many ways and that one way is not the only way. I highly doubt God will punish you for not adhering to lent.
In fact God is a symbol of a higher being, does not mean that your God is the only God. Its a general reference to a superior being. Much of church is about traditions created by man and written in text. Many even challenge the validity and reality of what has been described in the Bible as more mythology then reality. A lot of beliefs in the Bible were actually borrowed from earlier times. Many ancient people vowed sacrifices for their Gods. Including fasting and selective foods. But back then, what choice of foods did they have? Meat and Fish right? No salad bar 4000 years ago. People back then also believed the earth was flat and that sacrificing people’s lives for Gods was proper. So pardon me if some of these so called religious traditions seem to just that a tradition and nothing more. I would add that almost all Catholics don’t adhere to at least one teaching of their faith. For me, its not about going to church, or respecting a ancient tradition. Its how you are the other 6 days of the week that’s more important. Religion is a faith and that means nothing is proven. You believe in what is described and written. Many people all over the world have different faiths and beliefs. No one religion is right or wrong. Its just a faith for those who choose one.

March 13, 2014 at 2:50 pm
(28) Joe Busateri says:

Saw this and I really want to know if there is anything in the bible that says we should fast durring lent?:

1 Timothy 4
New International Version (NIV)

4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

March 13, 2014 at 11:42 pm
(29) Dave Parrish says:

I came out of the RC “church”. This system us deceiving over a billion lost souls to perdition! They (the evil men/ popes etc.) indeed control the keys to a lake of Fire, Etenal damnation system. The evils of this system are self evident, and easily found by library / internet history. It has persecuted millions of true, born of the Spirit Saints!! Those calledHoly by God Himself, declared free of His wrath forever and Granted Newness of Life in the Spirit of Christ!

This system fought to keep the Bible, God’s word to all, out of peoples hands!

I call all Roman Catholic to Fear the Thrice Holy True and living God, of whom they will meet and will be judged in believing in a Satanic system of men in swishing robes and pointy hats and a worship of Mary,
And come, REPENT OF THIS EVIL and cast their all upon Jesus to be their Savior and be Born anew by the Holy Spirit! Be saved and Be Free to live in the wondrous Life of God in His Spirit! In Jesus Name , Amen

April 9, 2014 at 4:38 pm
(30) Anthony Brasch says:

Earth to dumb-dumb: fish is meat.

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