Universal Church Law on Fast and Abstinence

The following is taken from the 1917 Code of Canon Law, and is hereby cited for a reference:


[Title 14; Canons 1250 up to 1254]

  The law of abstinence binds all those who have completed seven years of age.

  All those are bound by the law of fast from the completion of the twenty-first year of age until the beginning of the sixtieth. *

  The law of abstinence prohibits meat and soups made of meat but not of eggs, milks, and other condiments, even if taken from animals.

  The law of fast prescribes that there be only one meal a day; but it does not forbid that a little bit [of food] be taken in the morning and in the evening, observing, nevertheless, the approved custom of places concerning the quantity and the quality of the food.  (It is not forbidden to mix meat and fish in the same meal; or to exchange the evening meal with lunch.)

  The law of abstinence only must be observed every Friday.

  The law of abstinence together with fast must be observed on the following days: (1) Ash Wednesday; (2) All Fridays and Saturdays of Lent; (3) All the Ember Days; and, (4) The four Vigils of: Pentecost, Assumption, All the Saints, and the Nativity of Our Lord.

  The law of fast only is to be observed on all the other days of Lent.

  On Sundays or Feasts of precept, the law of abstinence or of abstinence and fast or a fast only ceases, except during Lent, nor is the vigil anticipated; likewise it ceases on Holy Saturday afternoon.

  By these canons nothing is changed concerning particular indults or the vows of any physical or moral person or the constitution and rules of any religious institute or other approved institute, whether of men or of women, living together in common even without vows.

*  The “beginning of the 60th year” is on one’s 59th birthday.

For any questions or clarifications, please discuss with the priest.

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