Lent

Can Catholics Eat Plant-Based Meat on Fridays During Lent? Chicago Archdiocese Weighs In

Though the Archdiocese of Chicago says plant-based options are not technically meat, Todd Williamson, the director of the Office for Divine Worship, said eating plant based meat is “kind of missing the point"

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Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With many Catholics abstaining from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, it appears plant-based burgers might not be a valid alternative.

Though the Archdiocese of Chicago says plant-based options are not technically meat, Todd Williamson, the director of the Office for Divine Worship, said eating plant based meat is “kind of missing the point.”

“I can’t have meat on Friday, but I can have something that tastes exactly like a hamburger - everything about it is the same…you’re missing the point,” Williamson said.

All Fridays of Lent are considered “days of abstinence from meat.”

“Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs --- all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat,” the Archdiocese’s website reads.

But Williamson argues “abstinence is done for a deeper reason not simply to not have meat.”

“It’s not the fact that it’s not meat. I can have something that tastes and feels and looks exactly like it - not on a Friday during Lent,” he said.

Still, the Archdiocese says that plant-based meat “isn’t from the flesh of an animal” and is therefore “not considered meat.”

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