Is it a sin to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent?

Is it a sin to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent?

Is it a sin to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent? This has been one of the most asked questions from Catholics. But is it really a sin? The answer is it depends.

Note that the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays is not a moral teaching of the Church. Just like Eucharistic fasting, it is a discipline.

In 1983, the revised Code of Canon Law states:

“Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.Canon 1251

With this promulgation, abstinence on all Fridays becomes optional. The Catholic Conferences of each country will decide for their flock. They can let them choose an alternative for this penance.

For example, in the United States, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) allows the US Catholics to have an option in replacement of the practice of abstaining from meat on all fridays.

When does eating meat on Fridays outside Lent become a sin?

If the conference of the country dictates to abstain from eating meat, the faithful should abide. If they choose not to, they might commit a sin for not believing in the authority of the Church.

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