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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.

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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