March 6, 2019 — With Lent comes the beginning of the lean days of the liturgical calendar, after the excesses of the table, the fat feasts and the well-drunk evenings of the carnival and the Mardi Gras. Why not take advantage of Lent to refrain completely from eating meat, not even fish or seafood? This is the challenge that ecologists have given to Pope Francis. The One million dollar Vegan campaign, supported by several public and media personalities, invites the Pope, the Church and the whole people of God to eat vegan during Lent.
Referring explicitly to the Encyclical Laudato si and Pope Francis’ commitment to the fight against climate change, this group of ecologists invites the Holy Father to preach by example.
"Your Holiness, we must act. Moving towards a plant-based diet will have substantial environmental benefits. It will protect our land, trees, oceans, and air, and help feed the world’s most vulnerable. It can also benefit human health, as a plant-based diet has been proven to reduce the risk of many common chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. As a result, a growing number of doctors and dieticians are advocating vegan diets in documentaries such as What the Health."
Veganism in debates
In the last few weeks, a controversy has been raging on both sides of the Atlantic about the virtues of the vegan diet.
In a vitriolic text, essayist Paul Ariès accused vegans of deception (in french), even going so far as to say that veganism would be… harmful to the environment. This debate has not spared Canada and Quebec, as evidenced by the many opinion papers published on this subject in recent days. Just like the heated debates that have taken place in recent months, after the federal government amended Canada’s Food Guide and invited Canadians to make legumes a part of their diet.
Throughout the Americas, from Montreal to Buenos Aires, meat consumption is slowly but surely declining. What about Catholics? How is veganism compatible with Catholic ethics? This is the question that philosopher Louis-André Richard tries to answer in this video posted by ECDQ.tv, the web TV of the Quebec Diocese: