You are probably about to munch your favorite burger today but are hesitant because you just knew somewhere that it is a sin. Well, got you! In this blog post, we will discuss if it is really a sin to eat meat outside of lent.
Note that the practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays is not moral teaching of the Church. Just like Eucharistic fasting, it is a discipline.
In 1983, the revised Code of Canon Law states:
Canon 1251 “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.”
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 to replacement of the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays.
Eating meat on Fridays outside of Lent
Now, let’s answer the question.
Is it a sin to eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent?
It depends on the territory. The Catholic Conference in your country will decide on the applicable penance. It could be abstinence from meat on Fridays or other alternatives.
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.