Along the way, it being a hot day, they got thirsty and stopped at an inn for some beer.

There is Protestant drinking and there is Catholic drinking, and the difference is more than mere quantity. Arnulf of Metz, was a seventh-century bishop of Metz, in what later became France. Arnold is said to have preached against drinking water, which in those days could be extremely dangerous owing to unsanitary sewage systems — or no sewage system at all.

I have no scientific data to back up my claims, nor have I completed any formal studies. It’s hard to pin down, but here’s a historical example. At the same time, he frequently touted the benefits of beer and is credited with having once said, “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” Wise words, and St. After his death, the good bishop was buried at a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he had retired.

However, his flock missed him and wanted him back, so in 641, having gotten approval to exhume St.

Arnold’s remains, they carried him in procession back to Metz for reburial in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles.

And teetotalers, rightly appalled at the habits of habitual drunkards, practice strict abstinence.

It seems to occur to neither side that their reaction is just that: a reaction, and not a solution.

If they considered it a bit, they might see a third way that involves neither drunkenness nor abstinence, yet is consistent with healthy, honest, humane Christian living. Catholic drinking that third way, the way to engage in an ancient activity enjoyed by everyone from peasants to emperors to Jesus Himself. In fact, I think the chief element is conviviality.

But good beer — and good wine for that matter — is a small miracle in itself, being a gift from God to His creatures, whom He loves. Just what constitutes excess is for each person to judge for himself.

However, we now approach the main difference between Catholic drinking and Protestant drinking.