Tuesday, October 30, 2007
How can the Catholic Church tolerate drinking?
The Church does not tolerate EXCESSIVE drinking anymore than it permits excess in any other thing. Human actions are divided into three categories -- good, bad, and indifferent. Indifferent actions are those which can become good or bad depending upon the use or abuse made of them. For instance, eating is an indifferent act. It becomes good when it is done for the purpose of maintaining health and strength. It becomes sinful, of gluttony, when it is done to excess. So to with gambling, smoking, dancing, and many other indifferent actions.
Drinking can he good if done for reasons of health or innocent recreation. Its abuse, or drunkenness, is always evil and sinful.
Scripture does not condemn drinking as such. In the Bible it has been calculated that there are 117 references to drinking as something good. We have an example of this in St. Paul who RECOMMENDED drinking. Writing to Timothy he says:
"Do not still drink water but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and for thy frequent infirmities." (1 Tim. 5:23).
Our Lord Himself was accused by the Pharisees of being a man who was "a glutton and a wine-drinker." (Matt. 11:19). Also our Lord Himself at the marriage feast of Cana changed water into wine. He performed a miracle in order that those there might drink wine. Certainly we cannot accuse our Lord of doing anything which would be sinful. Therefore the drinking of alcoholic beverages is an indifferent act; it becomes evil by abuse and by excess.