From the 'Dear Anne...' advice column which appeared in The
dated Friday, November 6 1987:
QUESTION: Like a growing number of young people, I am a vegetarian. I
gave up eating meat not particularly for religious reasons but because I
was revolted by the idea of eating dead flesh and feel that living
things should not be slaughtered to provide me with tasty meals or a
My parents don't understand and think I'm going through a phase. Am I
right or wrong? And has the Church any guidelines here?
ANNE ANSWERS: What you say does not surprise me. I have encountered
among young people from different parts of the country a quite strong
attraction towards vegetarianism. To be logical I suppose most will have
to abstain from fish as well since the same arguments apply. I have
sympathy with your point of view. Provided that it is possible to
maintain a well-balanced diet under such restrictions I would think
there is every reason to applaud your decision. It certainly fits in
with a Christian awareness of the sanctity and value of all things which
are to be respected and cherished for their own sake.
It does not, however, take account of the fact that we need to
sustain life. If that necessarily involves eating other creatures - and,
until now, Christians generally thought it did - then it is certainly
not wrong to eat flesh meat and fish. So I think the answer must be:
your choice is clearly a legitimate one but it is not necessarily the
only right one.
You cannot condemn others who do not take your point of view. I would
not accept that your vegetarianism is more Christian than my eating of
meat. I suspect, however, that a growing appreciation of the unity of
all God's creation will lead more and more people to take your side.