As Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, the Chicago Archdiocese has said that soy or fake protein-based "meat" are not alternatives for Catholics.
Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays but eating a veggie burger isn't a viable alternative. However, plant-based meats don't contain animal flesh, reported the Chicago Tribune.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Chicago said that Catholics risk losing the Holy Spirit meaning by abstaining from meat if they go for alternatives. Lent is generally when Christians show that they can relate to the suffering of Jesus Christ's torture, crucifixion and murder by giving up everyday things like cheeseburgers.
“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," said Chicago Archdiocese director Todd Williamson. "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.”