Monday, July 21, 2008

Church's crusade against alcohol "ignored"

By John Cooney
Irish Independent
Monday July 21 2008

A SENIOR Catholic bishop has admitted that fiery sermons from pulpits and "high-minded addresses by politicians" on the evils of alcohol, are being ignored.

"Very explicitly, some have asked clergy to speak from their altars and stop beating around the bush on this great social problem of our time," Bishop Colm O'Reilly told pilgrims at an anti-drink rally at Knock Shrine in Co Mayo yesterday.

"But I am not so sure of how effective that approach will ever be in putting our society back on track in this area," he added.

The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise was delivering a homily at the joint pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine by the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and the Matt Talbot Association.

Bishop O'Reilly told the pilgrims that reparation for excessive drinking is "one of the pillars of pioneer spirituality", which called "for a certain generosity of spirit".

Bishop O'Reilly said that the spirituality of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association has much in common with the spirituality of Alcoholics Anonymous.

"Most people know that those courageous people who have recovered sobriety through the AA movement believe they are helpless without 'the greater power' that comes from God," continued Bishop O'Reilly.

"Less well known is the fact that they rely heavily on each other to remain sober. So their spiritual strength comes from faith in God supported by mutual help.


"In our world, people, especially young people, find it difficult to be moderate in their drinking once they take alcohol at all. Where do those who drink in moderation get the strength to remain moderate?

"There is a prayer which all Mass-going people hear every Sunday. 'Blessed are you Lord God of all creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.'"

Bishop O'Reilly said that "the well-motivated moderate, temperate person and the total abstainer, all have two things in common: trust in God to keep them faithful to where they stand and concern for others."


For the press release and homily referred to in this article, see