it Wrong to Drink Alcohol?
evils which society suffers nowadays, the excessive number of
road accidents is without a doubt worth remembering. One
of the causes of this evil is driving under the influence of alcohol.
If drinking is sometimes dangerous, is drunkenness always morally
wrong? Can we not admit that it is possible to drink in
a reasonable fashion?
drunkenness always morally wrong?
is sinful only if it involves avidity and the immoderate use of
alcohol. The state of intoxication may be divided into three
First case: If one drinks alcohol
and is completely unaware that one is doing so to excess or that
the drink is intoxicating, the consequential drunkenness is not
culpable. That is, the complete inadvertence excludes sin.
Such was, for example, the case of Noah after the flood
(Gen. IX 20-21).
Second case: If while drinking,
one is conscious of an excessive intake of alcohol, but sincerely
unaware that drunkenness could follow, there is therefore only
a small or venial sin.
Third case: If one is perfectly
aware of drinking in an excessive fashion and willingly accepts
that drunkenness can follow, there is therefore a grave or mortal
sin. In this case the deliberation and consent are complete
such strictness over culpable drunkenness?
First reason: Drunkenness deprives us more or less
of the use of reason. Now reason is one of the faculties
which distinguish human beings from animals. To deliberately
lose the use of reason reduces us to a level lower than that of
animals because animals benefit from the instinct of self-preservation
which the drunken person has lost.
Second reason: Drunkenness deprives
us more or less of the use of reason. Now it is through
our reason that we adhere to goodness and avoid evil. To
deliberately lose the use of reason thus exposes us to the danger
of committing a wide variety of evils, reason no longer being
there to control our actions.
That is why anyone who dies after deliberately depriving himself
of his reason through drunkenness goes directly to hell, as, for
example, the apostle St. Paul teaches: "Do not err: neither
fornicators nor idolaters (...) nor drunkards nor railers nor
extortioners shall possess the kingdom of God" (I Cor VI
Frequent drunkenness, besides, as a natural consequence, causes
medically-proven detriments to health:
1. Liver failure and cirrhosis,
2. Brain atrophy and dementia,
3. Diarrhea and Peptic Ulcers,
4. Bleeding and Anemia,
5. Delirious tremens from alcohol with withdrawal.
there a place for moderate drinking?
drunkenness is condemned, it does not follow that the drinking
of alcohol is absolutely forbidden. Our Lord Jesus Christ
made wine at Cana, and it was "good wine", as the Evangelist Saint
John remarked (II 10). Saint Paul even advised his disciple
Timothy to take a little wine for his bodily infirmities (I Tim.
V 23). Moreover, the book of Ecclesiasticus informs us (XXXI
36): "Wine drunken with moderation is the joy of the soul and
is necessary in drinking if we want to avoid sin. Such is
the object of the virtue of sobriety. The word 'sobriety'
comes in fact from a Latin word, 'bria', which means moderation,
and one is called sober who maintains moderation. This is
why Sacred Scripture teaches that: "Sober drinking is health to
soul and body. Wine drunken with excess raiseth quarrels
and wrath and many ruins" (Ecclesiasticus XXXI 37-38).
persons are particularly advised to practice sobriety in consuming
people because the ardour of their age could easily lead them
into worse excesses.
Women because of their lowered resistance through consuming
alcohol. That is why, as Valere Maxime tells us, in ancient
Roman time, women did not drink wine.
Older people in order to instruct the young by example.
Political leaders in order to govern their citizens with
"We say that we should shun drunkenness, which prevents us from
avoiding grievous sins. For the things we avoid when sober,
we unknowingly commit when drunk" (St. Ambrose: De Patriarchis;
Lib 1; Cap. 7).
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