Throwback Thursday: Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40-day Lenten season for Roman Catholics. So for today’s Throwback Thursday installment, we’re rolling out this old chestnut that was originally published back on February 22, 2016 and has become an annual Lenten staple here at excatholic4christ. Enjoy!

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This morning, I was listening to the 10/30/15 podcast of the Calling All Catholics talk radio show on The Station of the Cross, 101.7 FM, out of Buffalo, New York. Catholic priest, Dave Baker, was taking questions, assisted by moderator, Mike Denz.

One of the listeners had a question regarding the church’s rule on mandatory abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, which I thought was quite timely because we’re currently in the Lenten season. Because the Catholic church absolutely forbids meat on Fridays during Lent, any Catholic who defiantly consumes meat allegedly commits a “mortal” sin and is doomed to hell for eternity unless they confess the sin to a priest.

But the rule’s not always as cut and dry as a juicy rib-eye steak or a succulent pork chop. The listener wanted to know if the ban on meat even included something like beef bouillon. Priest Baker irresolutely suggested that beef bouillon was “probably” permissible to consume, but encouraged the person to visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ web site to get the specific details.

Well, being the curious sinner-saved-by-grace that I am, I went to the USCCB website and found the following information:

Q. I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?

A. 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. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/questions-and-answers-about-lent.cfm

So while the bishops say it’s “technically OK” to consume meat-based broths, gravies, and seasonings, they add that Catholic moral theologians have traditionally taught that Catholics should abstain from all animal-derived products with the exception of products that don’t taste like meat.

Yikes! I’m still confused. This is getting more complicated than college calculus. Okay, let’s try to break it down using my favorite cracker, Chicken in a Biskit, as an example. One of the ingredients listed on the box of the cracker is “dehydrated cooked chicken.” So, is it a “mortal” sin for a Catholic to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Friday during Lent? The U.S. bishops say meat-based seasonings are OK, but then turn around and say the church’s moral theologians forbid any meat derivative that tastes like meat. And, yes, Chicken in a Biskit crackers taste somewhat like chicken. So, which is it? I WANT TO KNOW! Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers or not? Will a Catholic go to hell for all eternity because they ate a Chicken in a Biskit cracker on Friday during Lent????

Ridiculous? Absolutely. The Bible doesn’t say anything about abstaining from meat on Fridays, but it does warn against religious leaders who forbid certain foods. All of these complicated abstinence rules remind me of the Pharisees who took the Mosaic Law that no one could obey absolutely anyway (except for Jesus Christ), and made it even more intricate and burdensome.

Praise the Lord for freeing me from the legalistic chains and man-made traditions of Roman Catholicism! We all sin every day by breaking God’s Biblical commandments. But God loved us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross. Then Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death, and offers eternal life and fellowship with God to all those who repent (turn from their rebellion against God) and accept Him as Savior by faith alone. Accept Christ and seek out an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.

For more of my thoughts regarding Lent see here and here and here.

35 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Is it OK to eat Chicken in a Biskit crackers on Fridays during Lent?

  1. One of my many favorite posts of yours!!

    Hallelujah for freedom found in God through the shed blood of Jesus the Messiah 🙌 NEVER will that FREEDOM be found in the confusing bondage of religion!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth! I’ve written many posts on the inanities of Roman Catholic legalism, but nothing illustrates as well as a Chicken in a Biskit cracker!
      Yes, Hallelujah for salvation and freedom from legalistic religious practices in Christ Jesus!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Will a Catholic go to hell for all eternity because they ate a Chicken in a Biskit cracker on Friday during Lent????” Yes, totally ridiculous! Those crackers are good, we like them here too! Good post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cathy! Yup, so silly and anti-Biblical. So many Catholic practices/devotions/rituals are based upon rules that are exposed as inanities when a few questions are asked.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow! This is truly excessive! As you say this is legalism not reverence. I wonder what it would look like if people fasted from social media or electronic devices on Fridays in Lent instead of meat if that would make any difference?

    How is your weather? I am not even going to try and shovel yet. Love and blessings to you and Corinne!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yup, Mandy, it’s blatant religious legalism and also legalism without the genuine Gospel anywhere in sight.

      We got a little break from the snow the last couple of days, but I see there’s several inches forecasted for this afternoon and tonight. I’ll probably snowblow before dinner just to keep up with it. Sad to see so many people in the South being severely impacted by the snow and cold.
      Thanks and love and blessings to you and Nathan!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you about the folks in the South! I have friends in various parts of Texas and while they are all Northern transplants, its bad because people aren’t used to it.

        Have mercy on me O God a sinner! Praise God for the man who snow blowed some of my sidewalk and snowblowed the entrance to my driveway. It took me almost an hour and a half to shovel the driveway, the rest of the sidewalk and the sidewalk to the house. That was some of the heaviest, iciest snow we have had in a long time. I am now going to use the heating pad and call it a day, don’t tell Nathan!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Argh! My sympathies are with you for shoveling that snow. I can do a little shoveling at this point but tire quickly. I am so grateful for our snowblower.

        Rest up and order out for dinner.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Ha! I literally laughed out loud! If I didn’t shovel Nathan would either drive over it, which drives me crazy or he would park in the yard and well, that drives me crazy too!!! The snow plow took down the mailboxes across the street from us. I don’t know where the Township finds these folks?!?!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t like to drive over snow on the driveway and pack it down, either. A plow took out our white mailbox a couple of years ago. The town replaced it with a black one which is more appropriate.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yup, it was nice of the town to replace our mailbox. Thank you for your prayers! Fridays are the roughest. I’m not going to forget to make a mug of coffee for the commute like I did Wednesday when I worked OT.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Will read this later; but I remember this post. Answering your question: Today just finished teaching my girls Genesis 22 and preached the Gospel from the parallel with Issac with Jesus; I do think the parallels are so many that there is a legitimate typology going on here. THis went longer than normal given the heaviness of that chapter! Sounds like you guys are cold in ROC!! I’m too much of a Southern California shorts-and-shirt kind of guy lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Catholicism has a lot of deep legalistic rabbit holes, but I think this one about what EXACTLY constitutes “meat” is one of the most revealing. Priests can’t precisely define “meat” and neither can prelates, but the train continues down the tracks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Priests can’t precisely define “meat” and neither can prelates, but the train continues down the tracks.” So crazy…the simplicity of the Gospel of Grace is sooo precious brother Tom

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Gosh, I didn’t know that. It’s a mortal sin to eat meat during Lent??? SMH. Since this tradition is based on the 40 days of fast Jesus had undertaken, why did they not impose total abstinence on all solid foods?

    I can guess why, it is because it is asking too much on 90% of the population in the Middle Ages who are poor. And now why did they not impose the same total ban on solids today, given that far more people now can afford foods and have running water?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The mandatory meat abstinence is just for Fridays during Lent. It used to be every Friday throughout the year until the U.S. bishops changed it in 1966. My Dad often picked up fried fish and fries at the fish market on Fridays which was tastier than my Mom’s cooking during the week. Not a deprivation as far as I was concerned.

      RE: 40 day fast

      Most prelates and priests wouldn’t be willing to adhere to that themselves let alone impose it on the laity.

      Liked by 1 person

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