Debunking False Claims of Pope Francis Advocating ‘Eat Whatever You Want’ During Lent!

False Religious Social

Verifying the accuracy of statements attributed to key spiritual leaders is essential as they can have ripple effects on religious followers. Claims that Pope Francis remarked on the dietary and spiritual focus of Lent have created a lot of curiosity among social media users. Let’s look at the claim in detail.

Social Media Posts:

A Facebook post with over 28K shares claims that Pope Francis advised Catholics about their diet in the weeks preceding Easter. Pope Francis allegedly stated that dietary restrictions are not very important during the Lent period and that you could eat anything you prefer during the holy week, as seen below.



“Eat what you want at Easter; the sacrifice is not in the stomach, but in the heart.

People abstain from eating meat, but they do not talk to and miss their siblings and/or relatives, they do not visit their parents or take care of them.

They do not share their food with those who need it most, they distance their children from their father/mother and/or grandparents. They criticise the lives of others, abuse their partner, raise slander, false testimonies against their brothers, etc.

A delicious “lomo saltado” or a well-stewed meat does not make you a bad person, just as a fried fish does not make you a saint. Better seek to have a good relationship with God by doing good to others.

Let us be less arrogant and more humble of heart.” Pope Francis 🙏

Facebook | Archived Link

This message gained significant traction across various social media platforms.

We have taken steps to investigate the facts behind these claims, which contradict the norms of Christians.

Fact Check:

Lent is a significant period for many Catholics worldwide. Starting from Ash Wednesday, it lasts 40 days and prepares people for Easter. During this period, Christians are encouraged to engage in prayer, fasting, and acts of service prior to Easter. For Catholics, abstaining from meat on Fridays is a common practice during this period.

Contrary to claims circulating on social media, there is no evidence to support the statement that Pope Francis advised Catholics against adhering to dietary restrictions during Lent.

The Vatican’s official transcripts of Francis’ Lenten messages for 2024, titled “Through the desert, God leads us to freedom,” do not address dietary guidelines for Lent. Instead, they urge the public to “open our eyes to reality” and combat the “globalization of indifference.” Pope Francis emphasises the importance of pausing and praying during Lent, likening it to the Samaritan’s response to encountering a wounded brother or sister.

The official news portal of the Holy See under the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, Vatican News, has released an article covering the Pope’s 2024 Lenten message. The purported false quote attributed to the Pope cannot be located within this article either.

On February 14th, Pope Francis graced a general audience, followed by a holy mass to observe Ash Wednesday later in the day. During these events also, it was observed that Pope Francis did not make the aforementioned statement. Statements from that time can be found here and here.

The specific phrase attributed to Pope Francis cannot be found in any of his previous Easter messages either. A search using keywords on the Vatican’s website also yielded no results. 

Read other international fact checks on this here and here.

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No mention in any of Pope Francis’s Lenten speeches suggests that he advocates for Catholics to encourage anything they prefer during Lent. Moreover, there are no trustworthy accounts of Francis making these statements elsewhere.


Title:Debunking False Claims of Pope Francis Advocating ‘Eat Whatever You Want’ During Lent!

Written By: Pavithra Sandamali 

Result: False

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