Lacticinia, a term used in the Church law of fasts to denote whatever is obtained as an article of food from the mammalia, viz. milk, butter, grease, cheese. Eggs are usually included with these articles. Abstinence from such food was required in the Western Church during Lent, while the more stringent customs of the Greek Church extended the prohibition to all other fasts. Thomas Aquinas uses the following language: "In jejunio quadragesimali interdicunter universaliter etiam ova et lacticinia, circa quorum abstinentiam in aliis jejuniis diversae consuetudines existunt apud diversos." The Laodicean and Trullan (A.D. 691) councils made stringent requirements on the subject. Certain papal dispensations, granted as late as A.D. 1344 and A.D. 1485, show that even in certain parts of the Western Church this abstinence was practiced in many fasts besides Lent. In some Catholic countries general dispensations on this point have become permanent by long custom and positive decree, especially on the ground of health and necessity.
In the English Church the only abstinence that was ever enforced was from flesh-meat, in the reign of queen Elizabeth; but its object was rather the promotion of state interests, "to promote fisheries, to maintain mariners, and set men a fishing;" and was dispensed with by virtue of licenses, which were sold, according to the rank of the applicants, by the curates, under an act of Parliament passed in the fifth year of her [Elizabeth's] reign (Walcott, Sacrsed Archceol. p. 273, Fasts; comp. Hook. Ch. Dictionary, article Abstinence). "With us," says Wheatly (Hook, Church Diet. p. 9), " neither Church nor State makes any difference in the kinds of meat; but, as far as the former determines in the matter, she seems to recommend an entire abstinence from all manner of food till the time of fasting be over; declaring in her [Ch. of Engl.] homilies that fasting is a withholding of meat, drink, and all natural food from the body for the determined time of fasting." See Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lex, s.v. SEE ABSTINENCE; SEE FASTS.