Ash Wednesday Fasting Rules: Can You Eat Meat on Ash Wednesday?
According to the Catholic church, the requirements as stated by Pope Paul VI in his "Apostolic Constitution on Penance," written in 1966, the rule is as follows:
"Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent."
They define fasting as eating just one full meal throughout the day. You are allowed to eat small amounts of food throughout the day, but not another meal. They also don't spell out when you are supposed to eat this meal; it may be breakfast, lunch or dinner. They do insist that you abstain from meat, but not eggs or milk products on Ash Wednesday.
The rules, as spelled out by the Catholic church adds, "Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard. Even bacon drippings which contain little bits of meat may be poured over lettuce as seasoning."
KitchenDaily provides many vegetarian recipes for those who are looking to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and throughout the season of Lent.
One question which is often asked is the Catholic church's stance on fasting during Lent while pregnant. Well, according to EWTN, the Global Catholic Network, there are some who are allowed to be excused from fasting or abstinence.
"Besides those outside the age limits, those of unsound mind, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment," they continue, "manual laborers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving great offense or causing enmity and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline."