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Abstinence

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Definition:   Catholics must refrain from eating meat on prescribed days as a form of penance. It is a general rule that no meat may be eaten on Fridays. The bishops of a particular country may proscribe different restrictions, however. For example, in the U.S. abstinence is only required on Fridays during Lent. Failure to abstain is a serious sin that can remove the sanctifying grace needed to achieve heaven. Abstinence is one of the five precepts of the Church. The purpose of the five precepts is to guarantee for the Catholic faithful the minimum requirements in prayer, moral effort and love of God.

Discussion: The precepts of the Catholic Church are traditions which go beyond what is required by God in the Scriptures.  Paul warns of false teachers who would try to take people captive through philosophy and the traditions of men (Col. 2:8), and advocate abstaining from foods (1 Tim. 4:1-3). The minimum requirements that God prescribes are to love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt. 22:37-40). The man-made “minimum requirements” of Catholicism deny the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

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