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Question 205

Hi Father, Can I start by asking about the Wednesday and Friday fast throughout the year... can we have olive oil on these days? Can we have other oils if not e.g. sunflower oil? I know olive oil is not allowed during the Christmas and Lent fasts but what about throughout the year? Many thanks


Answer to Question 205


This is an question that needs a contradiction. The strict rules for fasting say that wine and oil are not consumed on Wednesdays and Fridays unless a Saints day which allows for wine and oil falls on one of these days.  The meaning of fasting is not to fulfil our desires for deliciously tasting meals, but rather to eat simple meals and just enough to nourish the body. Olive oil is a rich source of sustenance and can be used to make delicious fry ups like chips instead of boiled potatoes.  In practice though this is only observed by monks and nuns and a few people who keep strictly to the rules of fasting. Most people living in the world continue to have olive oil especially those who have to work hard for a living and need the sustenance olive oil can give them. Most of the Greek fast foods like fasolia and louvi need a bit of olive oil and it would be preferable to allow people to have olive oil rather than make fasting foods so tasteless that they do away with fasting altogether.  When the rules for fasting were written there was only olive oil. Today we have oils from many other sources and some people who are fanatical insist that the rule concerning olive oil must also apply to all other oils. Granted that with these oils you can still have a good fry up, but the nutritional values of these oils come nowhere near the nutritional values of olive oil.  In practice, vegetable margarine and corn or other vegetable oils, not made from olives are permitted unless you want to add that extra strictness to your fasting.