Sunday, May 24, 2009

Champagne is the preferred drink of Catholics

I have got my teeth into Jansenisam at the moment. Today being Ascension Day I preached about where Christ has gone there we should expect to follow, I mentioned the wonder of a human body in heaven, that we are in this passing world but our true home is Heaven, that we are joyous exiles.

I said that Christ has opened wide the gates of Heaven, that if we co-operate with him becoming a Saint is easy, it is his free gift that is gratefully received, more than our efforts that matter.

I pointed out his wounds were the sign of his love, not our condemnation. His death a sign of his self giving for us, an expiation of our sins, not a further source guilt.

I reminded them of Sydney Carter's, "Heaven is eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets". (Someone just emailed me to tell me it was Sydney Smith). I know I went over the top a bit by suggesting champagne is the preferred drink of Catholics, that though the Church does ask us to do penance, it also commands us to feast. Feasting and High Mass, joyous processions, over the top Churches, a elated grateful constant thanksgiving for God's Grace, are the best defence against wicked Jansenism.

I said the Ascension should be celebrated with parties and feasting. I was a bit glad that no-one, yet, has come for the bottles of champers that I said were available from the Presbytery door for anyone who didn't have any for their Ascension Day party.


bernadette said...

I've never tried Camagne, Father, being a city girl, but I do love Champagne. Especially at lunchtime.

bernadette said...

PS : Today ISN'T Ascension Day. The only reason I know that for sure, is that my Archbishop was on BBC Radio 4 on Thursday morning, telling me that today was Ascension Day. OK, I did yell rather rudely at the radio as I drove to work, asking him why the **** he agreed to change it to Sunday, then. But, we must take the good man at his word, however many Silk Cuts he has smoked before dawn. His change of mind and heart has to be respected.

So, It's official: Ascension Thursday has now been restored to Ascension Tnursday. (i.e. 40 days after the resurrection)

+Pete Smith said so on Radio 4.

It's official.

Let's party before his press office corrects it.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Listen to it again here:

Annie said...

I love champagne :D

George said...

Absolutely on the ball Fr Ray. Champagne is our favourite drink and after celebrating the Feast of the Ascension in the Old Rite at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish on Thursday (can there be any other fitting day or Liturgy for this important date in the Catholic calendar?), my wife and I continued the celebration and enjoyed a bottle of 'bubbly' well chilled and on ice later that evening.

Our Catholic Faith is just the greatet gift there is, the greatest and most perfect gift the world will ever know (or choose to ignore at its peril)!!!!

As the old adage from the 70's goes: "Thank God for Jesus"!

Alleluja to that! (Pass the Champagne please - Hic!)

Unknown said...

There used to be a group of people from the local born-again Charismatic church who regularly sang very dreary worship songs in Churchill Square on Saturday mornings whilst very self-consciously swaying to and fro and waving their arms in the air. What was destined to put passers by off more than anything else was the fact that, invariably, they all looked so utterly miserable.

I agree, and have said many times before, that religion should be fun (most of the time, anyway) and modern liturgies have done their best to take the fun out of religion. Recently I took part in an outdoor May devotion in a dreary part of north London. It was colourful, fun, old fashioned and ultramontane but it also was a very positive winess to local people and those on their way to Camden Market. It is not unknown for people living in quite dreary, run down industrial areas to be drawn to the church initially because it brought colour, splendour and a sense of belonging to their lives.

My only argument is with the choice of booze - I think G&T is preferable to champers!!

Anonymous said...

I would have come round for the champagne Father!

Victoria Mildew said...

Couldn't agree more-oohh yes please, Champagne all round for the feast of Ascension Thursday.

At today's 5.30pm Mass, sang "Allelulia, sing to Jesus" (No 37 in Celebration hymnal for Everyone); second verse 2, line 6 is particularly relevant.......!!

Erh 43 days and World Communication Sunday-argh.....?

Mark said...

GK Chesterton would have enthusiastically approved of this series of excellent posts in which you expose the horror of Jansenism and celebrate the joyousness of authentic Catholicism. He would, however, have favoured a tankard of English ale (maybe several tankards) over a glass of champagne...

Ches said...

I have to very strongly disagree with you on this, Father Ray.

In the first place, cava would be preferable to champagne, but more importantly, a good, red wine surely fits the bill better. Was it not a Sussex man, Belloc, who once said:

"Wherever Catholic men do be,
There'll always be laughter and good red wine,
At least I have always found it so,
Benedicamus Domino."

Some of course would even disagree with that and say that while champagne and red wine will pass away, ale will not pass. In other words, major autem cervesa.

As Chesterton says,

'St George he was for England / And before he slayed the dragon / He drank a pint of English ale / Out of an English flagon!'

This is much more easily done around a table when we can actually taste each brew and think the thing over properly!

George said...

While I am fond of the odd tankard, nay flagon even of real ale, and will happily down a glass or three of red wine (Italian or Spanish for me), champagne remains forever King of all brews!

Champagne Rules - OK! Vive la France!

The Bones said...

Visual proof that the Tower of Babel was made out of champagne flutes.

Sensational exclusive!

George said...

"Et tu Laurence?"

universal doctor said...

Champagne is SO yesterday- everyone knows that prosecco is the way forward.

Crux Fidelis said...

To paraphrase Ray Davies, I am a dull and simple lad who cannot tell cava from champagne - but I do like a pint or three of Guinness. I think this is perhaps because I was baptised in St James's Church, Dublin which stands cheek by jowl with the brewery.

Richard said...

And of course champagne was invented by a monk!

OK, it's probably historically incorrect, but dubious traditional hagiographies are another important part of Catholicism

And how can you resist the story that the good Dom Pérignon, on inventing champagne, said "Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!".

George said...

Richard, shouldn't that read...
"Come quickly, I am seeing stars! Hic, *%^?? Hic". :-)

Crux Fidelis said...

The Cistercians of the Low Countries are noted for their fine beers. One (among many) I have sampled is Trappiste Rochefort - 9.6% alcohol by volume! I've often thought that a good slogan would be "Brewed by the speechless for the legless".

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