Church History Forum: eating fish on fridays

eating fish on fridays QUESTION from Mark Bleasdale on August 9, 2002 I am writing about a question that was posted in March 2001. I know it's a little late!! However, I have only recently found this site and so I am just catching up with the questions.
I read once in an offical church publication (I cannot remember which one - I wish I could) that the church does not, and has never, required us to eat fish on Fridays (in Lent or otherwise).
The principles of fasting and abstinence, e.g. from meat, are meant to be giving something up, not replacing it with something else.
Mark Bleasdale.
ANSWER by Bro. John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on August 26, 2002 Dear Mr. Bleasdale:
You are right. Eating fish is not required, it is just a common custom. You can eat candy bars if you want.
What we are required to do is to ABSTAIN from meat. As long as we do that it does not matter what other foods we eat.
As for your comment about the principle of abstaining from meat is not meant to replace it with something else, I do not agree with. Eating another food is not replacing meat, it is just eating something other than meat.
Fasting is abstaining from food. Abstaining is not fasting, but only avoiding the particular food that we are to abstain from. We can eat anything else we wish.
Both fasting and abstinence are meant to be a sacrifice. For most people abstaining from meat is a small sacrifice -- it is for me. If the abstaining from meat is not a sacrifice then one should still abstain from meat in obedience to the Church AND optionally, for the love of God, abstain from some other item that will be a sacrifice to you.
But the bottom line, is that on days of abstinance of meat you are allowed to eat ANYTHING YOU WANT except meat. Fish does not replace meat, it is just another food to eat. It just became a typical custom.
God Bless, Bro Ignatius
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