Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence from meat on certain days?
Does not St. Paul call abstaining from meats a “doctrine of devils”? (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Catholics give up eating meat — for example, on Good Friday — to commemorate and honor Christ’s Sacrifice on that day, and to follow His instruction to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. (Matt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23). It is a practice that dates back to the earliest days of the Christian Church. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria both mention it in their writings. It is a practice which is thoroughly Christian, for we note that Christ Himself recommended fasting, saying: “When thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face… and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will repay thee.” (Matt. 6:17-18). In the same vein the Apostle Paul described his own suffering for Christ: “… in hunger and thirst, in fastings often…” (2 Cor. 11:27). Fasting was practiced both by Christ’s followers (Acts 14:22) and by Christ Himself. (Matt. 4:1-2). And Our Lord told His disciples that some devils cannot