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 (1870 – 1953)
The television was on in the service center waiting area—Katie Couric was introducing her next guest. I was the only one there, and normally I’d just turn off the set rather than endure daytime programming. But I wasn’t going to be long—just waiting for a key to be copied—so I left it on. Besides, the show’s topic caught my eye: Why Women Drink.
Author Gabrielle Glaser was the guest, and as soon as she started talking, I remembered reading an excerpt from her new book, Her Best-Kept Secret, in the newspaper. Fascinating stuff—all about the differences in drinking patterns between men and women, the intentional marketing of wine to women after World War II, and how women are coping with rising levels of alcohol abuse.
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According to Glaser, the solution for most women isn’t necessarily complete abstinence—that sobriety can be achieved by restoring appropriate levels of alcohol intake. This isn’t the case for the vast majority of men, for whom an all or nothing approach is often required. In any case, regardless of which strategy is most appropriate and when, this gender difference is revealing of something essential to alcohol consumption.
It’s this: You can drink without getting drunk. Really. Chesterton implied as much when he wrote, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.” St. Paul condemned full-blown drunkenness in the strongest terms, lumping it in with fornication and idolatry. Yet, he also wrote to Timothy, “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
The fact that you can have a beer or

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