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What can vegans and vegetarians abstain from on Fridays in Lent?

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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 03/06/20

If all your meals are already meatless, you can find another way to participate in the sacrificial nature of the season.

On Fridays in Lent, the Church asks Catholics over age 14 to abstain from eating meat, as a “special penitential observance” to join in the suffering of Christ. This custom stems from the traditional belief that Christ died on a Friday, so every Friday should include some act of penance and mortification and meat has been the traditional sacrifice.

But for vegans and vegetarians, this requirement is irrelevant. How can those who eschew eating meat and animal products participate in the sacrificial character of this day?

If you ask a Catholic vegan or vegetarian, they’ve likely made a number of different penances over the years. Friday can be set aside as a penitential day even when abstaining from meat is a way of life. Here are a few ideas to choose from …


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