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Can a Christian Drink?

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They drink, they smoke, they make a popular show for Catholic men (The Catholic Man Show), so we ask Adam and David to justify Catholic teaching on the acceptability of drinking. Wouldn’t God prefer that we all just stay away from the sauce and stick with tea? That depends, it turns out.

Cy Kellett: Hello and welcome again to Catholic Answers Focus. I am Cy Kellett, your host, and we are delighted this week to welcome David and Adam Minihan, the men from The Catholic Man Show. Also, the founders of St. Michael Radio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. David and Adam are, in addition to being radio founders and hosts of a very, very popular radio program, are fathers, husbands, Catholic men, and connoisseurs of whiskey. Adam and David, welcome.

Adam Minihan: Thanks, Cy. Thanks for having us on.

David Niles: Yeah, happy to be here.

Cy: Well, I thought we’d talk a bit about the theology of drinking. I wonder if you have ever heard this, because on the Catholic Man Show, you will sample beverages, adult beverages. Have you ever gotten any feedback saying, “Hey, why are you doing that? We’re trying to share Christ. We’re trying to share the Gospel. Why do you have drinking on your show?”

Adam: Yes. All the time. In fact…

Cy: Really?

Adam: Yeah. In fact, about once a month we get an email from somebody saying that they either disapprove of us drinking on the show or how alcohol is of the devil or something like that.

David: Yeah. We got one recently saying how someone was shocked we were promoting the consumption of poison on our show.

Cy: Oh.

Adam: Yeah.

David: Yeah. Typically these people, you can tell, they have a background, something in their past, is making them have this reaction. So, we don’t…

Adam: We try to be as pastoral as possible.

David: Yes, thank you.

Cy: Okay. So, why do it then? Why, even if it’s a small number of people who take offense at the alcohol, why do you do it?

Adam: Yeah, so, our show is all about virtue and virtue… it’s one thing talk about virtue, it’s another thing to exemplify virtue. Drinking in moderation is a virtuous act, and moderation looks different for everybody. There are some people who moderation means zero. I means you shouldn’t have any. So, on The Catholic Man Show we try to talk about knowing yourself, being a virtuous man, and so you should know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If there are some weaknesses that you should avoid the near occasion of sin. But you should enjoy the things of this earth for it’s goodness. I think G. K. Chesterton said we should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of it. So, we try to show that you can have a beer, you can have a glass of whiskey, and have a good conversation. It doesn’t necessarily have to be one extreme or the other.

Cy: Those of us who live in other parts of the country sometimes refer to your part of the country as the Bible Belt. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that term.

David: Oh, yeah.

Cy: The Bible Belt is kind of famous for its opposition to drinking. So, is this also a thing that you might be trying to promote, a more Catholic view of drinking?

David: Well, I think part of it for us was, when we started The Catholic Man Show, we wanted to do things that were overtly manly. So, we decided, well, lets drink beer and whiskey. That was part of it. It’s not necessarily that we were trying to be an alcoholic candle on the hill for our Protestant brothers and sisters. But, you know, Cy, you should always take two Baptists fishing with you. This is one thing I’ve learned here in the Bible Belt. If you go fishing you always take two Baptists, because if you just bring one he’ll drink all your beer.

Cy: Oh, I see! If you bring… if you bring two they keep an eye on each other.

David: Oh, yeah.

Cy: Is that what you’re saying?

David: “Do you guys want a beer?” “Uh….no.”

Adam: “No, we’re good.”

David: “No.”

Cy: Now, I can’t believe that you are suggesting moral duplicity on a part of brother Christians. All right. Okay. So, you… Would it be fair to say you might have had opportunities to have a wider reach for your radio program if it did not include drinking and references to drinking?

David: Oh, definitely.

Adam: Yeah, absolutely. Because, I mean, the target audience that we’re going for are the dads who are between the 25-age to 50-year-old range who are going through the motions of taking their kids to mass every Sunday, but they may not necessarily be taking their faith super seriously. So, if we start off by saying, “Hey, here’s a little beverage. Here’s a little story behind the beverage. Here’s why we drink,” it kind of breaks down the walls of it’s not like this… strong… “Here’s Catholic theology or philosophy right off the bat.” It kind of gives them a little bit of sense of welcome and maybe a little bit of hospitality. Yeah, so, we started off there.

Adam: Plus, alcohol and Catholicism have gone together hand-in-hand for so long. There’s so many awesome stories about Catholics bringing on alcohol. From the monks, from perfecting, basically, beer. They’re the ones… Egyptians started beer but the monks, some of the best beers ever brewed in this world are by monks.

Cy: Well, that Egyptian beer is really gross.

Adam: It is so gross.

Cy: Just throw some bread in and you let it ferment and it… it’s not like what we think of as modern beer. Modern beer is invented by Catholic monks.

Adam: That’s correct.

David: Right.

Adam: And not only that, but Dom Perignon was invented by a Benedictine monk. I don’t know if you knew that.

Cy: No, I did not.

Adam: But whiskey… Irish people… the Irish monks shared the recipe of Irish whiskey to the Scots which helped created scotch.

David: Yeah, no, the Scots might disagree with that. There is…

Adam: Yeah, there is a story. Yeah.

David: There is contentious debate on who started whiskey, whether it was the Irish or the Scots. But…

Adam: But even the Franciscans brought grapes, wine grapes over to California to start that. Then, Lasallian Christian brothers brought it back after prohibition.

David: Yeah, and it’s just like, you know what world? You’re welcome.

Adam: Yeah, we’re just riddled with how we’ve helped bring alcohol into society.

Cy: So, lets get into the theology of it then. I mean, what do Catholics teach about alcohol, the consumption of alcohol, the making and selling of alcohol? What is it that we believe about this? And then I’ll ask you to help us defend that maybe. But first, lets just start with: what is the basic Catholic teaching on alcohol?

David: Well, the basic Catholic teaching would be that of exercising virtue and temperance. So, the Catholic Church does not want to overstep its bounds. It understands that there are really two different sides of authority, exercise of authority. So, when it comes to the use of a thing, like alcohol, it would recognize that the state has a legitimate authority to pass regulations and laws about the use and consumption of alcohol. So, in the United States you have to be 21 to drink legally. The Catholic Church would say we must strive to be good citizens and obey the law. Intentionally breaking a law could be a sin.

Adam: Right.

David: In other countries, the laws are different. So, when you’re there you’re free to follow their laws. So that’s one thing I think needs to be said, is that the state exercises a legitimate authority in regulating the consumption of alcohol. And it does so, I think, wisely with its rules against drinking and driving. The laws are set up in order to promote a healthy use of alcohol in the community. The Church would say, also, much what Adam said in the beginning, that God created this earth good and it should be enjoyed for its goodness. Okay? So, you can say that about anything and that’s where temperance really becomes important. Temperance and prudence about how to, especially when it comes to our appetites, how to find that exact middle ground about what is a good amount of something, whether it’s food or in this case alcohol. Because too much alcohol obviously is a sin.

Adam: Yeah, and, I mean, we know it’s not intrinsically evil. That’s one thing that we get on our emails, is somebody saying alcohol is pure evil and that’s not true. We know this because it says it in the Bible that Jesus made a bunch of wine. Like, a bunch of wine. And he was so good at it that it impressed everybody at the wedding.

David: Not just wine. Really good wine.

Adam: Right.

David: Yeah.

Adam: So, there’s no way Jesus would do anything that’s intrinsically evil. That’s contrary to the Bible. And in the Psalms, even, it even talks about drinking wine. So, I mean, we know that in the Bible that it talks about drinking wine, and Jesus performed a miracle, his first miracle, with alcohol involved. So, we know that it can’t be intrinsically evil.

David: Right, and the people at the time, they drank wine all the time. You couldn’t necessarily just drink water if the water wasn’t clean. So, that’s one of the reasons why wine was so popular, because it had alcohol in it, which killed the bacteria. In many times it was safer to drink. And also, at a wedding it’s going to be a festive situation, festive celebration. The people knew what wine was. I’ve heard one argument that it was just grape juice that he made at the wedding at Cana and that the people just thought it was wine. I mean, that’s just kind of ridiculous. Nobody is going to mistake grape juice-

Adam: For wine.

David: For wine, yeah.

Adam: So, they wouldn’t call it wine if it was grape juice.

David: Right, and I don’t know how many people were at that wedding but…

Adam: It was a lot.

David: I mean, it was over 100 gallons, I think, that…

Adam: 180 I think, yeah.

David: That he made of wine. I mean, that’s a lot of wine. So…

Cy: And it suggests, too, that right there at the beginning of the proclamation of the kingdom of God that this is a kind of a joyful thing. I mean, wine and alcohol suggests a kind of revelry in letting loose a bit which is… in many ways that’s what Jesus is doing is proclaiming a joyful new time.

Adam: Yeah, and even Saint Thomas Aquinas talks about that we can drink “to the point of cheerfulness.” Which, I think, is a pretty cool… I mean, if you think about it, “to a point of cheerfulness.” That’s kind of where he draws the line. And alcohol does provide… It’s similar to how, you know, Cy, whenever you share a meal with somebody, you get to know who they are, you get to know their family, you get to sit down and have an intimate conversation on who they are. It’s kind of the same thing with, especially for men, to sit down together and enjoy a glass of whiskey or a fine beer. You get to sit down and the walls get brought down and you have the opportunity to kind of know who they really are.

Cy: So, do you think that’s part of a… I mean, one thing that you have not mentioned, which is also obvious, is that Christ uses wine sacramentally to represent his own blood. That he intends us to be intoxicated on him in a certain way. I mean, I don’t mean intoxicated like we’ve lost our faculty of reason, but to be… to imbibe him… I mean, his blood is actually a spirit in a sense.

David: Yeah, no, and I think you’re right. That’s… there’s no way that’s accidental.

Cy: Yeah.

David: Dr. Brant Pitre, he wrote a really, really good book. It was the sequel to-

Adam: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.

David: Yeah. He wrote Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist and then he wrote… I can’t remember.

Adam: Jesus and the Bridegroom.

David: Yes. Jesus the Bridegroom. Thank you. Okay, and in there he goes through all these prophesies about the coming of the messiah will bring this flowing of wine, you know, this out pouring and overflowing wine for all, for generations. So, I mean, it’s totally intentional because yes, we are in many ways to become intoxicated in Christ. That he would fill up our senses, that we would be overcome, overwhelmed, that we become a different person in him. So, there’s so many correlations there. So, it’s a good point.

Cy: Okay, so, let’s defend it then. If that’s the Catholic teaching, that this is good, it’s one of the goods of the earth, it’s something that the Church has always kind of, even in our monasteries, even at the heart of the Church there were these… the development of alcohol, so to speak, goes hand-in-hand with the life of the Catholic Church. But defend, it if you will. So, what is somebody says “Yes, but look at all the damage that alcohol does. Alcohol does incredible damage to families, to communities. So, wouldn’t it just be better to just lets say no and move away from that?”

David: Yeah, and I think that is a really strong… It’s a strong argument, and something that definitely has to be responded to because, yeah, I mean, you just look at broken families over time. Just the misuse… even accidental misuse, which definitely can happen, can cause and lead you to do terrible things. But the bottom line is: we have a responsibility to exercise… We have to know ourselves and to exercise virtue in this way. If we just go… I mean, it doesn’t a rocket scientist to figure out if you have five shots of whiskey you’re going to be a bad place. So, we have to, I think, one, raise our children in such a way that they understand what temperance looks like so that they come to know, “Oh, shotgunning three beers in a row. That’s a bad idea.”

Adam: Right.

David: And that way we can help change the… I mean, it takes a long time to do that but…

Adam: Yeah, I think also you can take… you can use that same example of alcohol with a lot of other things, right? So, sugar, isn’t sugar a bad thing? Doesn’t it cause a lot of diabetes? Doesn’t it cause a lot health issues?

David: Yeah.

Adam: Is it wrong to have a piece of cake? No. Is it wrong to eat a whole cake in one sitting? That could be possibly true. I mean, so, you can use that-

Cy: Okay, that’s an important note. I got to take note of that one.

Adam: I didn’t say cookies. I didn’t say cookies, Cy. Cookies are fine.

Cy: I hadn’t… I hadn’t thought that all the way through. Okay. All right.

Adam: Cookies are good. But, I mean, you can use that example for a lot of things. That’s why, I think like Dave was saying, it’s so important to talk about the virtue, and not necessarily what it is that we’re moderating, but the virtue of moderation in it of itself. So, I mean, alcohol is… can be used to… broken down families and debauchery and all other sorts of things, but so can other things. So, I think that it’s important to… to make sure that like… like Aquinas’s word, drinking “to a point of cheerfulness,” and not doing anything in excess.

David: Yeah, just because a thing can be abused doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be used at all.

Adam: Right. That’s kind of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

David: Right. Because really we were created for exactly this type of behavior. When you’re sitting down having a good drink with a friend, it’s really, this is almost the… almost the height of leisure. That’s kind of a different topic, but that’s what we’re made for. We’re actually made to rest. We’re not made for work. God created us to rest in him. Okay? So, it’s for exactly these types of moments in our lives that God created us. So that we could have these enjoyable conversations and just build relationships in this way.

Cy: What do you… what would you say to the person who says “I personally, as a religious observation, I’ve given up alcohol”? Would you say that’s a bad thing for that person to undertake?

David: No.

Adam: No, not at all.

David: No. In fact, the fact that someone would do that kind of proves the point that alcohol is itself a good.

Adam: I mean, priests are celibate.

David: Right.

Adam: They give up sex. That doesn’t mean sex is a bad thing.

David: Right. They give up the good of a family, the good of a wife. If those things weren’t valuable then there would be no value in celibacy. So, when you’re giving up something like alcohol it’s only because alcohol is itself a good, that giving it up becomes a good as well.

Adam: And you get to appreciate. I mean, that’s what our whole… the liturgical calendar shows that. What do we do during Lent? We fast, and we deny ourselves, and this is true aestheticism throughout forty days, so that way we can prepare for the feast. We can prepare for who we are. We are the Easter people. So, you can’t enjoy a fast without the feast… Or … You can’t enjoy the feast without the fast.

David: There you go.

Adam: Yeah. I almost flip flopped those.

Cy: Actually, it works the other way too. It’s hard to enjoy a fast if there’s not a feast at some point in the future waiting.

David: Yeah, that’s true.

Cy: Okay, so, tell me about this moderation thing, then. Here’s my problem: I can’t do it. I’m not a moderate person. Especially, lets say, in my teenage years or my 20s. It’s very hard to have this virtue of moderation. So, what does the Church say about… You’re saying, “Alcohol is a good. Moderation is a good that’s required for the proper enjoyment of alcohol.” I’m saying, “I’m with you on alcohol is a good. I don’t know about this moderation thing. Does the Church have anything to say on how I can acquire it? How I’m supposed to go about getting it?”

David: Yeah, well, the Church has a lot to say about how to acquire virtues in general. The thing about virtues is that when you practice one, when you grow in one virtue, you simultaneously grow in other virtues. So, if, for instance, if moderation in drinking is something that you struggle with, then it can be a very prudent and noble decision to say “I’m not going to drink.” Maybe forever, maybe for a while. But if it’s something that you’re struggling with… and there are many people out there that struggle with alcoholism, and those people heroically say “I don’t drink, and I don’t drink because of what it does to me.” So, that’s part of having this deep intimacy or knowing yourself so that you know how to behave. That, for them, is moderation. It’s not that they’re not exercising moderation by not drinking. That is what moderation looks like for them when it comes to alcohol. So, everybody has a different tolerance. Adam’s dad is a big man. He’s a very… he’s a… he’s large.

Adam: He is.

David: Tall and shoulders. You know what I’m saying. For him, moderation is going to look a lot different than it does for my wife.

Adam: Right.

David: So, if you need to grow in the virtue of moderation, in the virtue of temperance, then you can begin to exercise that virtue in other areas as well. So, learn to temperate. Temperate? Temperate.

Adam: Temperate.

Cy: Temper.

David: Learn to temper. Temper. Thank you. Learn to temper your appetite with food or with candy or with other things, and you can grow in those spiritual muscles so that you can overcome the more difficult appetites that you may have.

Adam: Yeah, because the virtue is the habit of doing the good. So, it’s not something… You can have a virtuous act. That doesn’t mean you are a virtuous person. I mean, you can abstain one time but that doesn’t mean you have the virtue of, of temperance. So, you have to continue building up this habit of good, of either denying yourself or in charity doing something for somebody else in order to grow in these kind of virtues.

David: Yeah, and one thing you can do is, before you start drinking, you say “All right we’re going over to so-and-so’s house. I’m going to have two beers.” So, that way, once… it’s a decision you’ve already made. Because sometimes we can get into trouble when we haven’t thought things through. We don’t have a plan. And you just say “Oh, yeah, okay, I’ll have…” Someone offers you another beer, and you’ve had two, and… “Oh, sure, I’ll have another one.” And maybe you shouldn’t. So, if you have… if you’ve decided ahead of time. “I know my limit. I’m going to have two.” You know, maybe youthink your limit is three, so you have two. That can be… for me that was very helpful. Because I’ve already made the decision.

Adam: And not to mention having good people around you. Good, holy, virtuous men and women around you. Making sure that your wife and yourself are on the same page. “Honey, do you think it’s okay it… Is two too many?” Because she’s… she’ll be able to tell you.

Cy: She knows you.

David: Yeah.

Adam: Yeah, she knows you. She knows you really well. She knows some of your weaknesses.

David: And she’s motivated to help you because she’s got to deal with you.

Adam: Right.

Cy: Right. Okay. So, this virtue of moderation, I have to say it strikes me that around 1967 this became… we had a different view of manliness start to come in, and the manly person was the one who… the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” excess. All of that. So, this strikes me as a competing view of manliness that you are… the two of you present by example, I mean, you’re married men with children. That strikes me as an image of a man that once may be predominated even in our society, and now it’s somewhat denigrated. You’re talking about moderation in the use of things like alcohol. You’re also talking about doing things that are overtly manly, like hunting and fishing and taking two Baptists with you and all that kind of thing. There’s a view, I guess, of manhood that involves both being able to handle things and mastering restraint or mastering even the self. Am I getting at what you’re trying to present as an image of manhood?

David: Totally. Yeah. The adventure of self-mastery is the greatest adventure in life. That’s not to say that knowing Christ… You know what I’m saying. Because when you learn to master yourself, you can become a better disciple. You can learn to actually be less concerned with yourself and more concerned with Christ. It’s what you could call self-mastery, the increase in virtue, so that you can be more humble and have all of these good things that it means to be a good Catholic. So yes, and I think you’re right, and there was… some people will accuse this of machismo because “Oh, yeah, you have a man show where you talk about smoking cigars and drinking whiskey. That’s a big surprise.” But, I mean, the truth is I do like to do those things, and I don’t think it’s being… I don’t think it’s machismo to say “Oh, men like to drink whiskey and smoke cigars.” Not all men do, but, I mean, a lot of them do. It’s just when you say “This is what manhood is.” That’s not what manhood is. Manhood isn’t whiskey and cigars. However, as a man, I sure do enjoy those things.

Cy: All right. So, you live in the great state of Oklahoma, and it is a great state, and it’s known as a very, very liberal state because you all are crazy liberals and legalized marijuana. What is going on in the state of Oklahoma? And I give you that because I wanted to ask you about, okay, you apply this standard that Thomas Aquinas gives us, drink “to cheerfulness,” and this long standard that the Church gives. Even outside of the Church, a philosopher like Aristotle would give us this idea that moderation and self-mastery are the keys to the enjoyment of the goods of this life, to the proper enjoyment of the goods of this life. Now, I give you marijuana. Have you thought about that, about where that fits in? Would you be of… would Aquinas say, well, smoke “to cheerfulness,” but don’t go beyond that? Or is there… Are we talking about a thing of a different order? That’s what I’m getting at. It’s perfectly fine if you want to say “I never thought about that” or “I don’t want to talk about that” or…

David: No, I have thought… I have thought about it.

Adam: Yeah, we’ve thought about it a lot because initially it was very easy for us to say “Smoking marijuana is not okay because the law says we shouldn’t smoke marijuana at all.” So…

David: Yeah, it’s illegal. So, that was like…

Adam: It’s illegal, so thus, it’s immoral to do. Now that that-

David: At least it was in Oklahoma.

Adam: Right.

David: Yeah.

Adam: Now that that wall has been broken and knocked down, that wasn’t… we had to kind of think about this a little bit more we answered it.

David: Yeah, in fact there’s still some… plenty of moral conundrums out there. The fact that, even if you just look at medical marijuana, a doctor gets his authority to write prescriptions from the federal government, not from the state government, and the federal government still says it’s illegal.

Cy: I know we’re in a weird…

Adam: It’s… it’s a…

David: Right.

Cy: Right.

David: So, you’re asking the doctor to break the law, which you shouldn’t do. That’s… because it’s a, like I said before it’s a legitimate authority exercising the regulation of a substance.

Cy: But I actually didn’t know that until you just said that. I didn’t know that who… where the doctor got that authority. So, okay. So, all right. You’ve taken that off my list. But so you…

David: However, just look… lets say-

Cy: You’re in a legal gray area no matter what in the United States. You’re breaking federal law, but you’re probably not breaking state law. You’re involving other people in the breaking of federal law, but not state law. So, you still are in a legal tough spot. But let’s say all of that is not there. Let’s say just… okay, marijuana is legal and there’s not a legal difficulty with it. Where… How should I morally think about it?

Adam: Yeah, so, I actually asked, when Karlo Broussard was here, I asked him this question because it was… we get this all the time. We get people asking us this question all the time. And I don’t want to put words in his mouth because he says it way more eloquently and much more articulately than what I can. But he basically says, in principle, theoretically, it could… you could possibly smoke marijuana without it being immoral. But the problem is with marijuana is that it’s so high in content of THC which is the psychoactive drug that gets you high, that it’s very hard to moderate that. There’s no… it’s very hard to moderate the amount of THC that is in marijuana. We know that if you had a beer, the beer has maybe 4% ABV. Its very hard to say that-

David: Or whatever it is.

Adam: Or whatever…

David: It’s measured. You know, you know what it is.

Adam: There’s some regulation to it. So, with smoking marijuana you’re smoking the… the point of smoking marijuana typically, for the most part, is to get intoxicated.

Cy: Right.

David: So, I know people have different opinions on this, but it’s my opinion that if you’re getting stoned, you are lessening your intellectual faculties.

Cy: Right.

David: The same thing happens with alcohol, but not in the same way. When you get stoned you just don’t… your free will is lessened to a degree… I mean, it would be like being drunk. Kind of. I mean, I don’t want to say that it’s just the same, because they’re different substances. However, we can apply the same principles. So, one of the problems, I think, with marijuana is that the industry has moved in a direction where it’s all about higher potencies, higher potencies.

Cy: Yes.

Adam: Right.

David: And even if you did know… if they come up with a rating system that said “This is whatever” and they could dose it out somehow, they’re still just astronomically high. If you were to make… compare it to whatever the marijuana plant that just simply grows in nature, that’s not altered or bred to be a specific… whatever that was, I would imagine it’s a much different plant. Not that… I’m not trying to say that just because it exists in nature therefore it must be morally good. Because there’s-

Cy: Right, hemlock exists in nature.

David: Right. Exactly. Don’t eat your Virginia creeper.

Adam: Right.

David: Don’t do that.

Adam: Don’t do that.

David: So, just because it is a natural substance doesn’t mean it’s licit or a good idea to ingest. However, there is a natural… it exists in nature in a certain way, and what you get at the dispensaries these days is well beyond that. I just don’t think it can be used in moderation. In as much as it could be, it would, I think, be morally licit to use, assuming it was legal and following a law.

Cy: I’m struck by the fact that you said it does something similar to alcohol but in a different way. That different way does seem to be at least a concern. I mean, the fact that you have, especially when young people use it, these risks of permanent brain damage, permanent attention disorder. You do have to assess risk. As well as the immediate… “Well, what’s the effect it’s going to have on me today,” but there’s also a risk that comes with…

David: Right. Yeah, one of the big problems with marijuana is that it’s… I believe it’s a schedule 1 drug, which I think is a really unfair characteristic of it’s properties. That’s a problem, because drugs that are on the schedule 1 list from the federal government cannot be studied. You can’t do studies on them to see-

Cy: To find out.

David: To find affects to… So, the brain damage. We don’t even really know, because there have been no conclusive studies that… A hospital can’t do it. Universities can’t do it. They can do some studies, but they’re all volunteer so the element of control, which is very important in a study, isn’t there. You just have to say “Oh, here, take this survey. Do you use marijuana? Oh, you do? Okay. Fill out these questions.” So, there’s-

Cy: And no one finishes the survey. They can’t get through. “I got like halfway done, man.”

Adam: This part of it is kind of out of my realm so I don’t want to speak too much on it. But what I would want to say is that alcohol is more of a community thing. We even brought it back to the sacramental aspect, the being in communion with one another. And marijuana seems to be more of an inward thing. Like, I’m just going to go over here and I can’t interact with other people. And that’s just… I don’t know.

David: That’s a good point. It does. It has a way of drawing you into yourself.

Adam: Instead of…

David: Whereas alcohol has a way of bringing you out.

Cy: And then I guess there’s that other thing that alcohol has a biblical sanction, where no other intoxicant does. There’s not one other thing in the Bible that says “Use this,” that has the… an intoxicating power.

David: Right.

Cy: And, so, I guess that would… because we certainly have this opioid addiction problem. We have… I mean we’ve gone through cocaine and crack and methamphetamines. We get all these intoxicants. There really are things, like methamphetamines, for example, that you… it is impossible for that to have a legitimate use in any recreational way. I mean, it possibly if you’re… What do they call it? A kamikaze pilot. There’s a proper use for it. But you shouldn’t be a kamikaze pilot. But I’m saying if you are…

Adam: What’s the moral implications of being a kamikaze pilot?

Cy: Yeah. Because…

David: They’re not good. I’ll tell you that.

Cy: No, because that… But that’s where methamphetamines comes from. It was invented for Japanese kamikazes basically.

David: Really? Get them all… get them all pumped up to fly the plane, huh?

Cy: It helps! It would help me. But you see what I’m saying there. There’s no… there’s the… I did want to get to that. Alcohol, it is clear that there is biblical and moral sanction for it, and it requires of us, for its proper use, the development of skills and the habits of moderation. There are things that are very, very gray area. Myself, I would stay away from them because I don’t want to be in the gray area. Aand then there are things like methamphetamine, for example, which you should… there’s no circumstance… and I’m saying this, but I’m also looking for your input. Would you agree with me? There’s no circumstance under which you should be experimenting with these other things?

David: Yes, I would absolutely agree with you.

Adam: Yes, absolutely.

David: Yeah, I mean, the only thing that… if you’re just taking meth. That’s not good. Yeah, there’s nothing that you can… there’s not like “Oh, this is enhancing my life.” No it isn’t. You might think that right now because you’re taking it, but it’s taking you down… downward. Not bringing you up.

Cy: Right. Right. And I would… there was a thing and… there was a, I think it… there was a Maharishi in the 60s who everyone was going to, and then everyone started taking LSD and saying they were getting a spiritual awakening from LSD. God bless this Maharishi, he was like “No you’re not. That’s not a spiritual practice.” But we also see that people think that these intoxicants and basically poisons that make you hallucinate are spiritually helpful.

David: Yeah. I mean, there was a lot of crazy ideas in the 60s.

Cy: Okay.

Adam: Yeah.

Cy: No, but they’re still there. They didn’t go away in the 60s. They’re still there. I live in California.

David: Yeah, I don’t know anybody who takes LSD and says… I mean, that should be a surprise to…

Adam: Right.

David: I mean, if I did meet somebody I probably really wouldn’t hang out with that person very much. But there’s always going to be some people who say that that’s just ridiculous.

Cy: Yeah. Yeah. But part of why I wanted to get into these is there’s an argument that these are in a continuum with alcohol and it… What do you make of that argument? “It’s all… that’s all a continuum and alcohol’s at one end and methamphetamine’s at the other and…”

Adam: Well, a lot of it has to do with intoxication. Again, it goes back to you can’t take meth in moderation. You can’t take LSD in moderation. You’re losing your faculties and your ability to make moral judgements on things. There’s another thing about alcohol that’s like, there’s this art of drinking. It’s this art of sitting down… in this fast-paced world, we live in this crazy world where we can’t sit and appreciate anything anymore. So, I heard the other day that the average time period spent in a museum, per piece of art, is eight seconds. It’s like, even in an atmosphere where it’s made to slow down and appreciate and observe, we’re still trying to get through everything.

Cy: Yeah.

Adam: We’re still trying to… trying to make it through. We’re… “I want to get through it all.”

David: Just check the box.

Adam: Yeah. Yeah, and I think a lot of times people actually-

Cy: Yeah, “I didn’t see all the Van Goghs. I gotta run. I gotta hurry!”

David: Right. Hurry.

Adam: You know, I-

David: Take a selfie with all of them.

Adam: Yeah, and then there all reading the description, the plaques on it, spending more time on the plaques than the actual art.

Cy: Right.

Adam: So, there’s this sense of we don’t ever slow down, and we’re always judging things by its utility. But the act of leisure, the act of drinking, this art of drinking, is a refined palette of understanding it… the tasting notes of a drink as it goes down, and you sit and you kind of get to know that drink and it kind of tells the story, and you get to slow down and talk to people and enjoy it for what it is. Instead of, “Okay, I’m just going to guzzle this beer as quickly as I can.” That’s not what we’re trying to do here. It’s the sense of moderation. It’s the sense of self-knowledge and appreciation for this “fruit of the vine and work of human hands,” if you will. So, that’s what this art of drinking, I think, is all about, is that you can get some crazy tasting notes from people who have this super refined palette that I do not have. But it’s sitting down and enjoying it and being able to, as each little sip goes down, you’re able to appreciate the work that has been put forth for you to be able to enjoy this moment together.

David: The finer things. There’s definitely an element of craftsmanship when it comes to enjoying your drink well. But ultimately I think that difference between alcohol and other things has to do with the end of each one. Okay. So, you might say, all right, alcohol, why are you drinking? If your answer is “To get drunk.” Okay? Then it’s… okay. Don’t.

Adam: It’s not good.

Cy: Right.

David: When it comes to marijuana, why are you smoking? I don’t know anybody-

Cy: “I’m getting the an oaky aftertaste this stuff.”

David: Right. Exactly. Nobody smokes marijuana so that they don’t get high.

Cy: Yes. That’s well put. Yeah.

David: Okay, that’s the reason you smoke it.

Cy: Well put. Yeah. Yeah.

David: Okay, now, you might have… I know there will be some people out there who hear that and say “No, I use it for my glaucoma or whatever.” Okay.

Adam: We’re going to get emails. We’re going to get emails for sure.

David: We’re not talking about you. We’re talking about this recreational use. However, medical marijuana, in my opinion, is just a big… we don’t have to get in there.

Adam: Let’s lay off. Let’s not go there.

David: CBD and THC…

Adam: Are different things.

David: Needs to be a big distinctions drawn between… Anyway. Anyway. So, you take cocaine or methamphetamines, whatever it is. Why are you taking them? Well, probably to get high. So, if that’s why you’re doing it, the end is itself intoxication. But that’s not the way that the Church says we should use alcohol. So, that’s why I made that distinction when you asked about marijuana. I said inasmuch as it could be used in moderation without having an intoxicating effect, then it could be licit. However, that’s kind of stupid, to smoke marijuana so that you don’t get high. I mean, that just doesn’t… why are you…?

Cy: That’s an excellent point, yeah. Right. Yeah.

Adam: But this is a contemplative process, almost, of drinking with a group of men. It slows you down as far as you’re not trying to finish your beer as fast as you can so you can go grab another one. It’s just more of a “Lets enjoy this time together and slow down and have this holy leisure and observe the presence of each other and talk to each other, and be able to appreciate this time that we have.” The idea again… the culture has just totally perverted this idea of what leisure is. They think leisure is just Netflix. It’s just like “Let’s sit down and watch TV,” and that’s just not the case. Leisure, like Dave said earlier, we’re supposed to be… we’re supposed to rest but we work… We rest so we can work, not we work to rest.

David: No, the other way around.

Adam: Oh, I’m sorry. The other way around. I knew I was going to mess that up. But Josef Pieper says that.

David: Heresy. Heresy.

Adam: Josef Pieper says that in his book, Basis of Culture.

David: Yeah, Leisure: The Basis of Culture.

Adam: Yeah.

David: Yeah, which is a great book.

Adam: Phenomenal book.

Cy: You are such cultured men, too. I really-

David: It’s a front.

Cy: No, it’s not. I enjoy it and… It’s just delightful to think about. I mean, I can’t drink whiskey. I don’t get the same thing you guys get from it. It taste… it just… if you gave me a glass of turpentine and a glass of whiskey I don’t know if I can distinguish the two. That is how unskilled my palette is. But… or how unsophisticated…

David: The truth is, it’s a big secret, there is no difference. They’re the same.

Cy: Oh, okay! All right. We just go, “That is some fine turpentine.” But I love that, for you, for both of you, it’s social. You’re smoking a cigar. You’re having a whiskey with other men, and you’re enjoying God’s creation. You’re doing that in the context of living out your lives under the lordship of Christ and for your families, for your wives, for your children. It’s all a beautiful image to me. But I want to ask you this before I gotta let you go: because you open the show drinking whiskey, for example, do you get free whiskey? Do people send you free bottles of whiskey? “Well, you should try our whiskey on the show.”

David: You know, Cy, the Lord is good. God is good.

Cy: I knew that’s why you did it.

Adam: If you would like us to try your whiskey, you can go to TheCatholicManShow.com and…

David: That was indeed an unforeseen benefit of starting a show where you review a drink. I don’t know. It seems kind of obvious, looking back. But, yeah, when we were starting we had no idea. They just… sometimes it will just show up on the porch. It just… Oh, we got a package.

Cy: What a life you’re living.

David: Look! There’s a bottle of alcohol in it!

Cy: What a life.

David: Yeah.

Adam: It’s a cross that we bear.

Cy: Right. Where can we find people find The Catholic Man Show? Where should they look if they want to find you?

Adam: You can check us out at TheCatholicManShow.com. We actually have a MySpace page. I think that’s really becoming a big thing, this MySpace, I’ve heard.

David: Yeah, It’s a brand new thing.

Adam: It’s a brand… It’s… Yeah.

David: It’s a new deal this year.

Cy: Okay. All right.

Adam: But, yeah, all of our social media and things like that as well.

Cy: All right, The Catholic Man Show. David Niles, thank you very much. I always enjoy talking with you.

Cy: And the other guy.

David: And the other guy.

Adam: Whoever this guy is.

Cy: Adam Minihan, Thank you very, very much. Please join them on The Catholic Man Show and, hey, thank you for joining us on Catholic Answers Focus. We do this every week. If you give us a little like or a share where ever you get your podcast that really helps to grow the program. What also helps is becoming a member of radio club and inviting your friends to be members of radio club. You can do that just by going to CatholicAnswersLive.com. Scroll down to where you put your email address in and we start sending you free stuff, and I’m not kidding. That’s what we do. We send you free stuff. We’ll see you next time, God willing, on Catholic Answers Focus.


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