By observing the fasting and abstinence laws of the Church, A Roman

Catholic can do penance for his sins. On fast days only one full meal is

allowed (with meat on most days), and two other meatless meals (together to

equal one full meal) may be taken. On days of complete abstinence, meat or

meat soup or gravy may not be used at all. On days of partial abstinence,

they may be taken at one meal.

Before Holy Communion, it used to be necessary to fast from midnight.

This fast could have been broken by brushing one's teeth.


The fast and abstinence laws have always been subject to revision, and have

been greatly relaxed. The pre-Communion fast is now only one hour, and

mandatory Friday meatless days have also been removed.


From THE CATHOLIC ANSWER, Sept/Oct 1990, page 21. "One final comment on

Friday abstinence: Church law still maintains Friday as a day of penance.

If a person chooses not to abstain from meat, he or she must perform an

alternative penance.


Jesus forbade publicized fasting (Matthew 6:16-18), which would include any

fast that is regulated by a church authority and imposed on all. See also I

Timothy 4:3.

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