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Ask Fr. Francis: What is the spirit of Fasting?

The following is an excerpt from Fr. Francis Ching, CC answers tough questions about the Catholic faith.


On the days of fasting such as Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, in Canada, Catholics aged 18-59 are bound to fast; those 14 and older to abstinence. My mom is over 60 so she does not have to fast, but does she still need to abstain from meat?

Fr. Francis' answer:

The practice of the Church is that every Christian should regularly perform some acts of penance, this is for the good of the soul, but also for the reparation of sinners in the whole world. One form of this practice is abstinence and fasting.

As the inquirer stated, fasting, which is the reduction of the amount of food, is for those age 18-59, and abstinence, which is from meat, snacks, and extravagance, is for age 14 and up. There is no upper age limit to abstinence.

“This law is generally imposed on all Fridays and Ash Wednesday. However, many places have in recent times reduced it to only Lent; and Canada and some countries have further reduced it to only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”

Read the full answer here!

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