ASK FATHER: Eating meat on Friday in the Octave of Easter

From a reader…

My wife and I recently returned to the traditional friday abstinence from meat year round. Traditionally, would the friday abstinence from meat also apply during fridays of the whole easter season? What about just the octave?

Pay attention, in the Latin Church, to can. 1251.

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.

The days of the Octave of Easter are celebrated as Solemnities (in the Novus Ordo calendar).

The other Fridays of Eastertide are not Solemnities.

As far as other Fridays are concerned, you can ask your parish priest to dispense you or commute your act of penance.

Can. 1245 Without prejudice to the right of diocesan bishops mentioned in can. 87, for a just cause and according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop, a pastor[parish priest] can grant in individual cases a dispensation from the obligation of observing a feast day or a day of penance or can grant a commutation of the obligation into other pious works. A superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, can also do this in regard to his own subjects and others living in the house day and night.

Also, you are free to substitute another form of penance for abstaining from meat. Make it penitential, however. Abstinence from meat has good reasoning behind it. For some, however, there abstinence from other things can be of greater spiritual effect.

Certainly you would never abstain from reading this blog… or ordering…


Please share!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to ASK FATHER: Eating meat on Friday in the Octave of Easter

  1. acardnal says:

    That is one good looking cheeseburger!

  2. Mike says:

    It’s swell! And is proven (by me) to aid with recombobulation.

  3. acricketchirps says:

    Say, don’t I recognize that tasty looking burger from somewhere?

  4. Cornelius says:

    That IS a tasty looking burger, but is that water I see behind it? Oh woe, woe. Where’s the beer?

  5. Athelstan says:

    Note that this rule would apply to ALL octaves, which means that it would also apply to the Friday in the only other surviving Octave in the modern Roman calendar (the Octave of Christmas). [I don’t think the Octave of Christmas has the weight of the Octave of Easter.]

    Which raises the interesting question of whether you should abstain on Friday in the Octave of Pentecost, which still survives in the 1962 Roman calendar (PP. Pius XII having eliminated all other octaves in his 1955 liturgical reforms). Of course, technically, Friday abstinence is no longer obligatory in the U.S. *anyway*, but for those observing the custom, especially because they are devoted to the Extraordinary Form, it would seem that the obligation, such as it is, would be waived on that Friday too, as it would have been back in 1962.

  6. Athelstan says:

    P.S. I of course stand open to correction on my supposition about Pentecost – my own practice has been to abstain when doubtful.

  7. Pingback: EASTER THURSDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  8. LB236 says:


    The Friday in the Octave of Pentecost is an Ember Day in the EF. Thus in the practice of 1962, it would still be a day of complete abstinence, at least according to the FSSP’s ordo.

    Of course, as you stated, none of this is obligatory in the U.S.

  9. Nun2OCDS says:

    The 2016 FSSP calendar shows Friday of Easter Octave as a “day of complete abstinence (1962).”

    Is that an error? You mean I could have had steak?!

  10. Imrahil says:

    I guess that’s why they put “(1962)” in brackets behind.

    Whether or not it qualifies as an actual solemnity, it is not a holy day of obligation, and prior to 1983 (or maybe the date of Paenitemini, 1965) that was what triggered the exemption.