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The Busted Halo Question Box
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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Why did God give us animals if on certain days we aren’t supposed to eat them?

Ann Naffziger Answers:

whynotmeatCatholics abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent not because of some rule in the Bible, but because of a tradition begun in the early church. Various books of the Bible encourage the spiritual practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

It wasn’t long until Church leaders began encouraging abstinence from meat on certain days as well. (The required days for fasting (eating less) and abstinence from meat have varied over the centuries.) These practices of self-denial are considered forms of penance. They are meant to be calls of conversion, to get us back on track if we’ve wandered off from our spiritual journeys. Some people find that fasting and abstaining from meat help them to be thankful that they normally have access to meat and plentiful food. Denying themselves these things serves as a reminder to pray and work for justice in a world where so many still go hungry.

The Author : Ann Naffziger
Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.
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  • JuliePurple

    Hey, it’s religion; it’s not *supposed* to make sense! :-)
    But seriously, as it said in the article above, it’s all just an attempt to get back on track. It’s not going to be a perfect system. Whatever works, right? And remember, not everybody has or had access to other forms of animal protein.

  • Clarita Zeppie

    So eating a lobster is fine, but not a burger. Makes no sense. It’s no sacrifice for me!

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