So you are probably a new convert to the faith, or perhaps just here out of curiosity to know if it is a sin for Catholics to eat pork. You are in the right place! In this blog post, we will discuss if it is a sin to eat pork as Catholics.
The following are the biblical passages from the Old Testament that talk about the prohibition of eating pork.
“And the pig, which indeed has divided hooves, with cloven foot, but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their dead bodies you shall not touch.”
“Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one who stands within, eating pig’s flesh, abominable things, and mice, shall all together come to an end, with their deeds and purposes—oracle of the Lord.”
These bible verses emphasized that pork is unclean. That one should not eat it.
So despite the above verses, why do Catholics eat pork?
The prohibition of eating pork and other food like shrimp is actually under the Mosaic Law. But this was already abolished by Jesus in the New Testament.
“It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.”
This declaration has made all foods including pork clean.
It is backed up by the vision of St. Peter.
“The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime. He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all the earth’s four-legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. A voice said to him, Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat. But Peter said, Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean. The voice spoke to him again, a second time, What God has made clean, you are not to call profane. This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky.”
St. Paul in his letters confirmed it in the following passages.
“Let no one, then, pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to a festival or new moon or sabbath.”
“The one who eats must not despise the one who abstains, and the one who abstains must not pass judgment on the one who eats; for God has welcomed him.”
“Eat anything sold in the market, without raising questions on grounds of conscience”
1 Corinthians 10:25
These biblical references from the New Testament support the cleanliness of all food.
Eating pork is not a Sin
Now, let’s answer the question.
Is eating pork a sin for Catholics?
Generally, no. Unlike in Islam and Judaism, it is not a sin to eat pork for Catholics. In the New Testament, Jesus declared that all foods are clean thus, Catholics can freely eat pork.
But, there’s a time eating pork can be a sin. It is when someone intentionally does not abstain from it on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Friday outside lent (depending on the territory except when Solemnity falls on Friday).
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.”
The reason is that the person breaking it does not believe in the authority of the Church.
Eating pork is feasting for us Catholics. I remember how I would always choose pork as meat in my meals during Easter Season. It makes me appreciate my fasting journey more. “Fast hard, feast harder” is real.
That said, although we have the freedom to eat whatever we want, as Catholics, we must still be mindful that too much is not good for our bodies. Self-control is always the key.
May we all give thanks to the Lord for the gift of food.