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As Fr. Alan McGuckian SJ has just been consecrated Bishop of Raphoe, Donegal, I am reminded of the great work his brother, Bernard, also a Jesuit, has done for the promotion of much needed temperance. 'Temperance' in Ireland has always been understood in relation to the moderate consumption of alcohol (seldom about food!). Grappling with intemperance is still a perennial problem in family life here with its endless deplorable effects in the whole of society.

However, the term is much richer than that. Temperance gives order and balance to life, to a serenity of spirit within oneself. Temperance teaches us to cherish and enjoy the good things of life while respecting natural limits. Temperance, in fact, does not diminish but actually heightens the pleasure we take in living by freeing us from a joyless compulsiveness and dependence. Temperance is the virtue needed to deal wisely and prudently with all the pleasurable areas of life. Pope Pius XII once said: “ Proverbially, Ireland is the land that combines the smile and the tear. Alas, what a flood of tears, drowning out the joy and laughter of home and hearth has poured through the shattered dyke of temperance.”

90 years ago the Irish Government placed a ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday. It is now moving to lift this restriction. Surely not every day should be dominated by the dictates of commerce.


ah but if you do not celebrate Good Friday can you not lift a glass with your good dinner at the neighborhood establishment?

i agree on temperance
but virtue can not be legislated and forced
it can only be encouraged
Of course there is no problem about obtaining drink. But is the ban not a reminder to us that, considering all the deaths drink is causing on our roads, one can live without drink for one day in the year?

The same is true about the traditional ringing of the Angelus bell before the six o'clock news on TV which takes about one minute. There is an out-cry about it! Indeed many welcome it as one minute in the day when we can "turn off" from the hustle and bustle of our day. The images shown during the ringing are short quiet rural scenes.
i'm sure even in Ireland these days not everyone is Catholic
to have catholic practices be the norm is offensive to some of these people
it is a reminder of the "inferior status" in which they are held

here such things would be impossible
we have our struggles keeping religious preferences out of public life
being multi-faithed produces tensions
we don't always find the right answer to the question
but we recognize the legitimacy of the question

and yes, if i were a visitor to Ireland and it was good friday
i would want a glass of wine with my dinner
I think you are absolutely right about the alcohol sale ban on Good Friday. Even if one is not Christian, and so discounts that it is the major fast day out of 365 days, a day to consider life without freely available alcohol is good for everyone, just as some cities have days without cars!