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149. Sobriety

1. Sobriety consists in the reasonable and temperate useof intoxicating drink. We call a man sober (in describing hishabitual conduct) when he either drinks no intoxicants, or drinksthem in such moderation that his faculties are never disordered bythem. The word sober, and hence the word sobriety, derivesfrom a word meaning measure, and therefore suggests thetrue meaning of the term: measure or moderation in drinking.

2. Sobriety is usually regarded as a special partof the virtue of temperance, and hence a special virtue.

3. No food or drink is, in itself, unlawful. Scripturesays (Matt. 15:11): "That which goeth into the mouth doth notdefile a man." Yet the drinking of intoxicants can be bad forseveral accidental reasons. Drinking becomes an evil: (a) when theperson who drinks is abnormally susceptible to the influence ofalcohol; (b) when a person has pledged his word not to drink; (c)when a person drinks too much; (d) when scandal (that is, badexample) is given by drinking.

4. Sobriety is a good and necessary virtue in all, and itis especially requisite for (a) the young, who readily give way toexcess in pleasures, and who develop habits quickly; (b) women,whose natural refinement is quickly debased and made disgusting byintoxication; (c) teachers and pastors and parents, and all whoinstruct others, and all whose dignity or office demands a devoutand attentive mind and the example of sober conduct.

"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God has no need of men."
St Philip Neri

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