But wine is a different story: since they have to drink it when they say mass President Joseph R. Biden JR. Inauguration Day January 20 2021 American flag shirt, it is very hard to draw a line as to where alcoholism begins or to put a stop to alcoholism in priests. Priests are also frequently invited to social occasions, where given Catholic culture’s more liberal than the average attitude towards booze, there is likely to be alcohol available, and social drinking abounds. (Remember in The Simpsons, Homer Simpson considered converting to Catholicism because of Catholic attitudes towards drinking and gambling.) Given priests’ privileged status in the Catholic community, if a priest walks into a bar in a highly Catholic area, he might well be given free drinks, or see someone who knows him who will buy him drinks. My late father was an altar boy to a priest who had alcoholism and was frequently drunk.
I don’t think in the ’50s when this occurred they let priests who were alcoholics say mass with grape juice or museum. I don’t know if they even bothered to do anything like send them away for treatment in cases where priests clearly had a problem with alcohol. My father had told me that the priest who had this problem was nice when drunk, but could be very mean when he wasn’t. So it was a brave soul who entered the confessional first, not knowing what state the priest was in. He said everyone dreaded it when the first in line came out to report to the others. Christians, for the majority of their history, have consumed wine as part of their meals and even as a part of their most important ritual, the Eucharist. They may very well have viewed overindulgence as a sin, so they didn’t applaud drunkenness, but they didn’t have a problem with moderate consumption of wine, which they saw as a pleasure granted by God.