For Catholics who celebrated Lent yesterday, they’re also supposed to abstain from eating meat on Fridays until Easter. (Hey, don’t ask me to explain religious logic.)
But that rule raises an interesting question: What if a practicing Catholic eats a plant-based burger?
Is that allowed? Will God be mad? Is seeking out the loophole itself a violation of Catholic dogma?
According to some Catholic leaders in Chicago, at least, eating an Impossible Burger still breaks the spirit of the religious law. The Chicago Tribune explains:
… “you risk losing the whole spirit of it,” said Todd Williamson, director of the Office of Divine Worship at the Archdiocese of Chicago, if you substitute meat with a close copy.
“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,” Williamson said. “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.”
I’ll admit that makes sense. It’s far more sensible than some arbitrary rule that says meat’s fine on Thursday, but taboo starting at midnight, but only for 24 hours at a time, and only for a few weeks.
Still, it’s not like most Catholics give a damn about what the Church says. Many Catholics support LGBTQ rights and abortion rights despite the Church’s bigotry, and they’re going to eat plant-based meat on Friday because why the hell not.
At Epic Burger, which has six Chicago restaurants and two in the North Shore, sales of its plant-based Beyond Burger rise 10 to 12% on Fridays during Lent compared with prior Fridays, and the company “absolutely” sees Lent as an opportunity to market the product, said marketing manager Spencer Most.
Leave it to religion to make someone feel guilty about eating fake meat.
In any case, we’d all be better off if people switched to plant-based burgers on a regular basis and if we ignored the Catholic Church’s rules about everything else.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Constance for the link)