Happy Meat-Eating Friday! (2011 Edition)

by Jimmy Akin

in Canon Law, Liturgical Year

Hamburger-recipe A reader writes:

Mr. Akin,

You wrote last year about meat on the Solemnity of St. Joseph even though it was a feast day.


Would this apply to the Solemnity of the Annunciation this Friday, March 25?

Yes, it does. The Annunciation is a solemnity, according to the General Roman Calendar (I'm linking to Wikipedia rather than the official calendar for 2011 on the bishops' web site b/c the latter is in the evil pdf format, but it confirms the same thing).

And according to the Code of Canon Law, 

Can.  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.

Therefore, have fun eating meat (if you want) this Friday!

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Paula HC March 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Now if I could only locate my grill underneath all this snow!

Chad Myers March 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

What if you don’t/can’t make it to mass on that day? Is it wrong to eat meat if you’re not really solemnizing the solemnity?

Kelly March 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Here’s a thought: If a person wants to eat meat this Friday because of the Solemnity of the Annunciation, then let him/her dedicate a portion of the day to commemorate the holy event perhaps during the time of the meat-eating. To eat meat “simply because” it is just some solemity is like exchanging gifts on Christmas day or eating Easter egg candies on Easter Sunday without even celebrating the REASON for the day.
Besides, going without meat one day can’t be that hard anyway.

joye March 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm

We’re going to follow the Scandinavian custom and celebrate the Annunciation with homemade waffles, whipped cream, and jam! Yum! Jesus will be here in nine months! Yay!
Another way to make a suitable meal would be “angelic” food like angel hair pasta, angel food cake, etc…
I love celebrating Church feasts with appropriate feasting food!

The Pachyderminator March 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

To eat meat “simply because” it is just some solemity is like exchanging gifts on Christmas day or eating Easter egg candies on Easter Sunday without even celebrating the REASON for the day.

Good point. By all means recognize the reason for the celebration, and if you can’t make it to mass, at least spend some time contemplating the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrate the solemnity in prayer.

Besides, going without meat one day can’t be that hard anyway.

This, on the other hand, seems beside the point. Yes, in developed countries going without meat for a day is in most cases an extremely light penance, in fact often a purely token one. For that matter, fasting for one day according to the current law, or even a total fast for one day, isn’t that hard either for a healthy adult. That doesn’t change the fact that solemnities, even when they fall in Lent, are meant to be days of celebration rather than penance. Eating meat on the feast of the Annunciation should feel no weirder than eating a festive meal on Christmas. In fact, the Annunciation is considered by some to be the single greatest Christian feast, since it is usually considered to be the day of Jesus’ miraculous conception, and therefore the day the Incarnation took place.

John Donne March 24, 2011 at 5:09 am

Tamely, frail body, abstain to-day; to-day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.

RobP March 24, 2011 at 10:22 am

@ Kelly:
I would argue that eating meat on this Friday’s solemnity *is* a way of remembering and celebrating the meaning of the feast, just as exchanging gifts at Christmas is a way of commemorating the True Gift of Christ. In other words, I don’t think we get to abstain from abstaining simply because it’s the Annunciation – rather, we ought to solemnize the Solemnity by, among other things, eating meat! Your point, though, is certainly to be taken to heart, which I read as: what else will I do to solemnize the celebration of the Annunciation?

Agellius March 24, 2011 at 11:35 am

Good to know! since it also happens to be my son’s birthday. Now we can go ahead and order pepperoni pizza. : )

Tom A March 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

In addition eating meat can we take a “break” from our Lenten penance? In other words can I partake in whatever it is that I gave up for Lent?

Andy March 24, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Tom, yes, I think this would be a day where one should take a break from penance. After all, it’s a celebration! “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?”

Nick March 25, 2011 at 4:56 am

I agree with RobP and Andy. My father in law stated that he’d still fast from meat today, yet afterwards I thought, “But we should celebrate!” Today is more about recoginizing how good God is, that he sent his only son to us. And to celebrate our model Mary, for saying “Yes.” to God.

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