Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Perspective on Drinking in Dublin

The author of this article serves as Director of Formation for Catholic Schools and Catechesis at the Archdiocese of Denver and teaches at the Augustine Institute (USA).  Photographs accompanying this article are found on the link below.

Drinking . . . and Not Drinking in Dublin
by Jared Staudt
September 16, 2019
We began our Beauty of Faith Pilgrimage to Ireland in Dublin, visiting its churches and its saints/saints in the making: St. Valentine-the Roman saint whose relics are at the Whitefriar Street church; St. John Henry Newman’s University Church where he delivered some of the discourses that became An Idea of a University; St. Lawrence O’Toole, medieval bishop of the city, and Bl. John Sullivan, a Jesuit with a gift for healing. 

Watching over our pilgrimage, however, were two holy figures from Dublin to make sure we consumed in moderation (both of whom appear in The Beer Option.  Fr. Theobald Matthew (1790-1856) formed the Total Abstinence Society to combat the sin of drunkenness and administered the pledge to over 3 million people in Ireland, and also traveled in Britain and the United States. Alcohol clearly falls within Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount: “If your eyes causes you to sin, pluck it out.” The other is Ven. Matt Talbot (1856-1925), who became an alcoholic at a young age, while working in a liquor store. He fell to such a level that his friends mocked him and refused to help him, causing him to wake up, go to confession, and take the pledge. He became a Third Order Franciscan, consecrated his life to Our Lady following St. Louis de Montfort, adopted strict penances, and spent his life serving his fellow, poor workers in Dublin.

The Catholic tradition embraces the festivity of eating and drinking, but within the context of fasting and friendship so that, as Paul says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Our pilgrimage experience in Dublin testified to the right balance of drinking and abstaining, both witnessed by the saints.