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I consider myself an Orthodox, and I'm from Eastern Europe (Not Russian, nor Ukrainian) and I discovered that we, Orthodox Christians, are very permissive regarding consuming alcohol. Of course, we believe that being a chronic alcoholic is a sin, however even if our official position regarding alcohol is "moderate drinking is fine", sometimes very religious people drink until they pass out (rarely, if you do this every day, then you are an alcoholic). We seem to believe that alcohol is a gift from God, rather than a demon (as other faiths believe). Of course, when someone abuses this gift, it becomes a demon, but we don't believe that drinking until strong drunkenness is bad once in a while.

What is the official position of the Catholic Church as a spiritual institution?

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    – agarza
    Jul 16, 2023 at 13:44
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    The church is totally fine with alcohol in moderation. There are even some Trappist monks that produce and sell alcohol to provide for their monastery.
    – Luke Hill
    Jul 16, 2023 at 14:16
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    I've never heard of alcohol being referred to as a "demon" from any denomination, did you mean to say something else?
    – Nacht
    Jul 16, 2023 at 23:27
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    @Nacht I think to OP meant: "...alcohol is a gift from God, rather than [the gift of] a demon". Tolstoy wrote a play in which the Devil rebukes one of his staff for failing to corrupt a village of virtuous Russian peasants, and gives him a deadline to make them sin, or else. When the Boss returns a year later, he finds that Junior has invented vodka, and everyone is busily sinning. I think that the play ends with Junior being commended, and told to teach the rest of the staff.
    – user59106
    Jul 17, 2023 at 3:06
  • @SimonCrase OP says "it becomes a demon" later, so I don't think that interpretation works
    – Tristan
    Jul 17, 2023 at 10:51

2 Answers 2

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The Catechism has alcohol in its index.

  1. The virtue of temperance desposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others' safety on the road, at sea or in the air.

Online at vatican.va [Quoted from the print edition, emphasis in the original]

Temperance is a virtue. Temperance does not mean abstinence. Alcohol has been around since the time of Noah and has long been enjoyed; but one should avoid following Noah’s example. [Genesis 9:21]

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    Additionally, drunkenness is sinful. Note Ephesians 5:18, but also, it should be self-evident that drinking to the point that you are no longer in control is evil.
    – Matthew
    Jul 16, 2023 at 17:44
  • But what does moderation mean? Shoud you not drink over the "mild dizziness" stage(2-3 glasses of wine, or half a glass of strong spirit, or a couple of beers), or you can get drunk and pass out very rarely, like Noah. I was raised in an orthodox family. My parents drank all kinds of alcoholic bevreges, but never got drunk. When I was 18, and I could legally purchase alcohol, I bought a rum bottle and drank it all, alone at home. I fell on my face in the mud in the garden and I passed out. I threw up in sleep all day. It was not a mistake, I was very courious what it means to be heavily drunk.
    – MikeyJY
    Jul 16, 2023 at 17:51
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    "How can something good be used against God?" is a whole nother question (and could probably be asked). Jul 16, 2023 at 18:10
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    @Bogdan The world isn't quite so black-and-white. Many things can be "good" in moderation, but shouldn't be taken in excess (like sugar or pain pills). Different people respond differently to alcohol, and there could be a variety of contributing factors that leads to someone becoming an alcoholic abuser. Many people drink regularly without going down that path. Moderation means whatever is very unlikely to lead to you harming others or yourself (although some would say moderation is never getting drunk). It's less a question of how often, because it just takes 1 mistake to ruin or end lives.
    – NotThatGuy
    Jul 17, 2023 at 14:19
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    The way I personally understand the Church's teaching on that matter: (a) You may never drink heavily enough to lose control over your behavior (much less get completely wasted) and (b) you may not habitually drink heavily enough to seriously risk getting yourself addicted. Aside from this, you decide in your conscience what 'temperance' means for you, so that you avoid serious risks of serious harm.
    – gaazkam
    Jul 17, 2023 at 22:31
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There is an entertaining article here. I can't resist quoting a few paragraphs.

One need only cite the Eucharist as a sed contra to the alleged iniquity of alcohol. Consider the following statement: "For the Blessed Sacrament, in which he gives us not only his grace but his very self, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chose as its matter a Group 1 carcinogen of untrammeled malevolence." Does that not sound a bit strange?

Nor should we waffle on the fact that wine is by its very nature a form of alcohol. St. Thomas Aquinas goes so far as to suggest that wine was chosen for the Eucharist not despite its alcoholic content but in part because of it. Aquinas reasons that just as bread is good for the body (gluten detractors notwithstanding), wine is good for the soul insofar as it “cheers the heart of man” (Summa Theologiae III.74.1). And wine produces that cheer, we hasten to add, by the C2H5OH contained therein.

Even within the New Testament we find "dry" saints like John the Baptist, who abstained in anticipation of the Messiah, and “wet” saints like Paul, who recommended wine for one’s health (see 1 Tim. 5:23).

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  • Very interesting the differentiation between the saints. Another thing, back to Old Testament, and to Noah who planted a vineyard, made wine and got very drunk. The thing is that the Bible doesn't blame Noah for doing this, doesn't say that he sinned or did a bad thing by doing this. They blame more the son who saw him naked and drunk.
    – MikeyJY
    Jul 18, 2023 at 19:17

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