Friday, August 31, 2012

Alcohol, Bishops,Controversy The ABC of a Drinking Catholic

All around the religious blogsphere this weekend  people are posting about the  colourful Archbishop Elect of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone who managed to collect a DUI ticket after  dinner with his Mum. Cardileone has apologised for being caught over the limit with the usual references to family, Church and himself.

Wherever the Catholic sun does shine,
There’s laughter and music and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
Hilaire Belloc 

Drinking clerics of pre and post Vatican orientation have always been part of the structure. Some have more colourful and public exhibitions of their lack of temperance. The colonial history of Australia includes many legends of the life around the pubs that Catholic families established. I remember going to a post ordination celebration of a mate in Koroit Victoria. The  local pub was the only venue that could cater for the numbers and its furnishings included an old confessional stall under the stairs.

In 1979 as a young seminarian in Melbourne I was assigned to work at an inner city parish. One of my regular chores was to  go to The Perseverance and pick up  the grog supply for the clergy card night on Fridays. A couple of years later and having handed in my soutane I dropped into the old watering hole for a beer with a friend. Culture runs deep and the manager recognizing me, gave us "drinks on the house"  remembering my good custom.

So,  here's wishing Salv Cordileone "good health" as he takes up the reigns of episcopal bohemia in San Francisco. He seems to like  parades and fancy dress and is a fan of the "Cappa Magna" set. He may need to brush up on his  sexuality statements and pastoral skills if he wants them to have him lead the 2013 Pride Parade.

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