So, Fr trendy himself is worried about getting nicked for drinking and driving.

In yesterday’s Irish Times Fr. Brian Darcy was expressing his concern about Catholic priests over indulging in wine during the eucharist, therefore putting themselves over the blood alcohol limit before getting into their cars and driving on to the next parish to continue God’s work.

Only here in Ireland and only with the Roman Catholic Church could such a story arise.

First, a couple of facts.

Fr. Darcy is a pioneer. For those of you not completely au fait with mid to late twentieth century Irish history, this does not mean that he headed west in a covered wagon, running the gauntlet of marauding bands of savage natives to establish a civilised society west of the river Shannon. No, it simply means that he is a member of the Pioneer Total Abstinance Society. In short – he does not take alcohol. In fact he has taken a solemn vow to abstain from alcohol for life.

In the real world this would mean that Fr. Brian Darcy does not drink.

Howwever, Darcy does not live in the real world. He lives in an alternate reality created by the Catholic Church where not everything is as it seems. In Darcy’s world he can swig away on all the wine he likes, and as long as he prays over it and says that it is the blood of a prophet who died two thousand years ago he is not actually drinking alcohol.
Scientific measurements taken at the roadside here in the real world might show that Darcy or any other Catholic priest is over the limit for driving. However, Darcy can then, in all seriousness, claim that he has not been drinking.

This is a man who claims that he does not drink alcohol and yet as part of his job he is required to drink wine every day.

How would this play out in court, I wonder. I would love to see the first test case.

Something which had escaped my attention until yesterday is the fact that Catholic priests are forbidden from using non-alcoholic wine to celebrate the eucharist. Even a priest who might be an alcoholic is told that if he wants to continue to be a priest he must continue to drink alcohol every time he celebrates a mass. This, as Fr. Darcy pointed out, could be as much as three or four times a day.

Is that just mad or what?

Is there, however, something more sinister buried in this story? Is Fr. Darcy dropping a large hint to the Gardai that maybe they should turn a blind eye when a priest is found to be drunk behind the wheel? After all he is only doing God’s work and the rules do not allow him to do that work without taking alcohol. The more of God’s work he does the more pissed he may be behind the wheel. So let him on his way and if he mows down a small child or two on his way, well maybe that’s all part of God’s great plan.

He does work in mysterious ways, you know.