Welcome to Lent - the 40-day period that proceeds Easter Sunday - a date that shifts from year to year, but is determined by the paschal full moon.  While the time period is recognized and celebrated (?) by Christians alike, Catholics go a little further in their Lenten practices with various fasting dates.  Then there is the abstention from eating meat on days like Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during the season - however eating fish is an accepted source of protein.

Enter the modern-day wrinkle.  As plant-based proteins find more of an accepted place on the menu and plate of people - the question becomes:  Can I eat plant-based proteins on Fridays during Lent?  Fans of plant-based proteins could make the argument that these food products aren't meat - so they should be acceptable for practical Catholics to consume.  Not so says the  Archdiocese of Chicago.

In a statement about the issue, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese suggests that consuming plant-based proteins that resemble meat "risk(s) losing the spirit" of the Lenten season.    “What’s behind the whole tradition in practice is to go without in order to be in solidarity with those who are hungry, with those who can’t afford meat.  By going without that we are reminded of others. We experience hunger ourselves. So it’s a bit deeper than whether it’s just a meat product.”

The 2020 Lent season runs from Ash Wednesday-February 26 until Easter Sunday-April 12.

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