alcohol (beer/wine/spirits)

The Crisis of the Christian Colleges

We are often told these days, quite plausibly, that Christian universities and colleges are in acute crisis. The threat comes from campus radicals in alliance with the federal government’s educational machinery, itself operated by radicalized functionaries. “The expansion of the scope of Title IX legislation by the Obama administration makes colleges that hold to traditional [...]

Raising a Festive Glass on the Feast of St. John

“Can you drink the cup that I will drink?” (Matt 20:22). This is the question Jesus posed to St. John the Evangelist and his brother, James, as they and their mother petition for seats on his right and on his left. Though not a martyr, several traditions affirm that John did suffer from persecution, though [...]

On Gratitude, Grapes, and God

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino! ∼ Hilaire Belloc When my wife and I were first married—oh, about half a lifetime ago—there was no wine for us to drink at our reception. It was not that others had depleted [...]

Norcia Monks Rebuild the Foundations of Christian Culture

“When the foundations are destroyed, what can the just do?” (Ps 11:3) Walking up the narrow streets of Norcia, the smell of the local delicacy, wild boar, wafting through the air from hanging limbs in shops and restaurants, three times a year University of Mary students make their way toward the historic basilica of St. [...]

How to Drink Like a Saint

While researching Drinking With the Saints, I was looking for what drinks I could recommend on certain feast days of the liturgical year. What I did not expect to discover was a lesson in how to drink them. That lesson can be distilled into five key points. To drink like a saint—that is, to enjoy [...]

An Anesthetized Culture: Further Reflections on Drugs

I recently wrote a piece for Crisis, entitled “Accepting Drugs: A Challenge for Culture and Evangelization,” in response to what I perceive as a general unwillingness of Catholics to take a stand on this pressing issue. Our society is quickly accepting recreational drugs, particularly marijuana, as a normal and a generally harmless phenomenon. The piece [...]

Acceptance of Drugs: A Challenge to Culture and Evangelization

I recently gave a talk entitled “Beer and the Renewal of Catholic Culture.” Based on the Roman Ritual’s traditional blessing for beer, my argument was that beer is both a work of God given to gladden our hearts (along with wine) and an important work of human culture, a shaping of the goods of the [...]

The Real Lessons of Prohibition

In October, 1919, a heavily “progressive” Congress passed the Volstead Act enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting, for almost all purposes, the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages. There are two things everybody has learned from Prohibition. First, it is wrong to try to legislate morality. Second, you cannot do it, for Prohibition failed. But [...]

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Silence and Culture at a Carthusian Monastery

When the film Into Great Silence came out in American theatres back in 2007, a student of mine, who is a high school religion teacher, took some of his students to see it. They had to leave about half way through. The students, accustomed to fast paced entertainment, couldn't handle the presentation of the life [...]

St. Thomas of Napa Valley

The Sebastiani family has been making and selling wine in California for more than one hundred years. One of its Napa Valley wines bears the intriguing label, “Aquinas,” in honor of the Catholic Church’s greatest philosopher/theologian. The choice of this label might raise some eyebrows. What is the “Angelic Doctor’s” name doing on a product that comes [...]

Cause for Mirth: The Return of Abbey Brewing to the United States

Beer is another one of those testimonies to how the Catholic Church built European civilization. It is true that brewing was widely practiced in the ancient world, but the process was very primitive, even as simple as soaking a loaf of bread in water. Modern brewing practices grew up within Benedictine monasteries, where beer provided [...]

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