02 Jan 2012

Catholic Beverages: Moored by Reason and Time

Moderation and prudence. I’ve seen what alcoholism can do to families!

Our Lord at Cana: making a Catholic beverage (14th-century fresco of the Wedding at Cana, Monastery of Descani, Serbia)

Brad Miner’s full article is here, snippet below.

Clement of Alexandria (d. 215) explains our sacramental use of wine:

Accordingly, as wine is blended with water, so is the Spirit with man. And the one, the mixture of wine and water, nourishes to faith; while the other, the Spirit, conducts to immortality.

No authoritative Church documents deal with gin or Scotch, lager or stout; nor do they tell us much about how (or how much) to drink. There’s not a single cocktail recipe in the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church, although I’ve been in some rectories that, if they wrote

it all down, could produce viable rivals to Old Mr. Boston.

For solid advice, we turn to the aforementioned Clement and his essay “On Drinking.”

Clement writes that the young had best avoid “intemperate potations” – that  “boys and girls should keep as much as possible away from this medicine” – but he gives cheer to us older folks, who may partake . . .

. . . of the draught, to warm by the harmless medicine of the vine the chill of age, which the decay of time has produced. For old men’s passions are not, for the most part, stirred to such agitation as to drive them to the shipwreck of drunkenness. For being moored by reason and time, as by anchors, they stand with greater ease the storm of passions that rushes down from intemperance.

Amen to that. Temperance is, after all, a cardinal virtue, as long anyway as it doesn’t become a social movement. Clement quotes Sirach (31:27): “Wine is very life to anyone, if taken in moderation. Does anyone really live who lacks the wine which from the beginning was created for joy?”

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2 responses to “Catholic Beverages: Moored by Reason and Time”

  1. avatar

    I personally do not touch booze, even in moderation. That said, it’s clear this article is a must-read.

  2. avatar

    I have such a low tolerance level for alcoholism that I won’t even go out with a drinker. Even if I don’t kick someone to the curb because she drinks in moderation, it can’t go past moderate, and she can’t try to get me to touch the stuff.

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