The Catholic Gentleman: Drinking

Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. 

And thus a priest blesses the resultant creation of grains, hops, water, and yeast. This gift of beer is a good given to man for his “salutary remedy”, for the care of his body and soul. While drunkenness is grave matter and is never to be encouraged, a good can be enjoyed virtuously even if the same good can lead to vice. Aquinas argued that “abuse does not rule out use”, and we gratefully use his understanding to justify the virtue of proper consumption. As Chesterton states in Orthodoxy, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.”

The Catholic Gentleman approaches the consumption of whiskey in this vein, seeking to enjoy the totality of this creation. Walker Percy, in his famed essay Whiskey, Neat (which will get a post of its own sometime soon), stated:

“The joy of bourbon drinking is not the pharmacological effect of the C2H5OH on the cortex but rather the instant of the whiskey being knocked back and the little explosion of Kentucky U.S.A. sunshine in the cavity of the nasopharynx and the hot bosky bite of Tennessee summertime—aesthetic considerations to which the effect of the alcohol is, if not dispensable, at least secondary.”

The Catholic Gentleman drinks to enjoy the gift of this “salutary remedy”: a totality of taste, aroma, culture, and (most importantly) company. The company partaking in a drink is more important than the drink itself. Our blog sprung out of the friendship grown around many shared interests, discussed around a table, a decanter half-full of whiskey, and a record spinning up upon a shelf. This love of friendship shared and libations partaken of brings an appreciation to the power and greatness of the spirit, both human and drink.

Enjoy whiskey realizing its capacities for both good and evil. Enjoy the experience, don’t get caught up in the particulars. While we on this blog might rate specific attributes of an individual whiskey, remember it is the company that makes a great experience, not the drink. Enjoy both in proper moderation.

For further reading: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/the-lost-art-of-catholic-drinking

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