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All things vegan

A Xt3 Member asked at 8:29am on October 29th 2017
Dear Father,

I am hoping all is well with you. Can you please kindly help me understand if being vegan is a sin? I had not consume animal flesh or animal products for eight years. How could it become a sin? I do, however find peace being Catholic. But I do find myself questioning why many in our church consume meat. There are scientific studies supporting that consuming animal products cause diseases in Western-based society. I am aware that Christ said that what is more important is what goes into the mouth and not what comes out of it. My family eats meat and dairy products. But they support my dietary practice.

Thank you for your time reading this.


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Hi Joe, in Church history, many women and men religious who lived in monasteries refrained from eating meat for most if not all of the year - there are manuscripts of the Gospels in Latin by Irish monks copied around the 700s AD, and sometimes they wrote notes on the side. These notes in Old Irish included poems about their cats, and at least one monk complained that he was tired of eating salmon all the time! There's nothing sinful in being a vegan - obviously if your doctor felt your diet was unbalanced and recommended a change, I'd suggest you follow that advice.

Regarding why most Catholics eat meat, I'd ask you to check the famous vision St Peter has in chapter 11 of the Acts of the Apostles. He was commanded by a voice to 'kill and eat' from the animals contained in a great sheet he saw lowered from heaven. He refused because some of the animals (including beasts of prey, reptiles and birds) were unclean in Jewish law. Then Peter was told from heaven: 'What God has cleansed you must not call common [or unclean].' In other words, Christians weren't bound by the Jewish dietary laws.

And St Paul has a similar freedom, this time in allowing Christians to eat food (we can presume meat is meant here) sacrificed to idols - because not all of it was retained in the pagan temple, but sold more cheaply on the market (see 1 Cor 8 and 10). So, you're free as a Catholic to be vegan and others, like those in your family, are free not to be. Very best, Fr Brendan
Xt3's Ask a Priest answered at 11:17pm on November 6th 2017 reply

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