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Can Catholics drink alcohol?

What does the Catholic Church teach about alcohol? 

Many people see Catholicism as traditional, and they’re correct. But it’s easy to think of “traditional” as being “stuffy,” “boring,” and “uptight.” In other words, some might assume Catholics can’t have fun—or can’t enjoy alcohol.

In reality, the exact opposite is true. The Church does teach that drunkenness is a form of gluttony, and a grave sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2290). However, that doesn’t mean that Catholics can’t drink at all. Excessive eating is also gluttony, but we can still eat and enjoy good food.

Catholics are welcome to drink and appreciate alcohol. Remember that Jesus’ first miracle was to provide a super-abundance of the best wine for a group of wedding guests!

In his book Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner’s Guide to a Holy Happy Hour, Michael Foley begins by explaining the joy of drinking in moderation. He shows that, in fact, many of the saints we know and love today relished a good happy hour—which is why Foley wrote a book with different cocktail recipes to honor our favorite saints.

Foley explains that the purpose of his book is to promote the type of drinking which the saints embraced. He writes:

Drinking with the Saints has as one of its aims the promotion of the refined and temperate art of drinking, an art which involves a discerning palate, a sense of moderation, and a generous dose of self-knowledge. The art also calls for a certain mindfulness or contemplative presence…You can be sure that when Our Lord made wine so good that it impressed even the seasoned steward at the Wedding of Cana, He was endorsing only the best forms of imbibing.

Foley’s book includes a fascinating variety of cocktail recipes for different feast days and liturgical celebrations. Get your copy of Drinking with the Saints here so you can kick back and celebrate special days with a refreshing Catholic cocktail.

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