“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37
Question: Is fasting during Lent of demonic origin?
I recently came across this on the web, from ex-Catholic Mike Gendron, regarding the Catholic practice of fasting during Lent:
Let us investigate 6 reasons Christians cannot remain in the Catholic Church
Its doctrines are demonic.
Paul described doctrines of demons as those doctrines which forbid people to marry and forbid them from eating certain foods. Hypocritical liars who have abandoned the faith teach them (1 Timothy 4:1-4). For centuries the Catholic Church has forbidden priests, monks and nuns to marry. Because of this forced celibacy, many priests have become hypocritical liars because of their shameful immorality. This doctrine was not enforced in the Catholic Church until a thousand years after Christ. In the 16th century the Council of Trent went so far as to condemn anyone who affirmed that marriage is more conducive to happiness than celibacy (Canon 10). From Scripture we know that the Lord’s brothers and the apostles were married and that each church leader had the right to take a believing wife (1 Cor. 9:5). The Catholic Church has historically forbidden the eating of meat on Fridays, until recently, when it relaxed this practice to Fridays only during Lent. Paul said these ascetic regulations produce self-imposed worship, a false humility, harsh treatment of the body and they lack value in restraining sensual indulgence (Col. 2:23).
Response: The Catholic Church doesn't forbid the eating of meat. Catholics are free to eat any and all foods, as Jesus “declared all foods clean”--Mark 7:19
Fasting and abstaining, on certain days, for short periods of time, is not the same thing as being "forbidden".
Gendron cites 1 Timothy 4:1-4. Here's what those verses say:
Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions
through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.
They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving
What is St. Paul referencing here? Clearly he cannot be condemning his fellow Christians who fasted and abstained. Fasting and abstaining are all over the New Testament--Jesus, in fact, fasted for 40 days. St. Paul is most likely referencing the Gnostics, who were an ancient cult who viewed the body/flesh as evil...and thus they forbade marriage and the eating of certain foods.
The Catholic Church does not declare the consumption of any food to be fundamentally evil.
Also, Scripture indeed mentions people who abstain from certain foods. The prophet Daniel writes “I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.”--Daniel 10:3
Finally, just a quick retort to the reference that Gendron makes that the Church's teaching on celibacy (that is, the "forbidding" of marriage for priests) is also a "demonic" doctrine: no rational person would ever believe that the Catholic Church forbids marriage. If there is any institution which reveres, upholds and elevates marriage it is the Catholic Church. The fact that some people are called to be celibate is NOT the same thing as saying they are forbidden from marrying.
Also, I love the quip the apologist Tim Staples makes when someone states that celibacy is anti-Biblical because the Bible states that Church leaders should be married: "Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach"--1 Timothy 3:2
Staples says something like "Wow. That's pretty hard core. That means Jesus, who was obviously not married, couldn't even be a bishop in his own Church!"