The Smoking Priest

The Smoking Priest

Old Ideas Rising from the Ground

I thoroughly enjoyed Steven Spielberg’s version of “War of the Worlds.”  The special effects that Spielberg uses to show the aliens coming out of the ground are really cool.

Heresies (yes, I did use that word) are like the aliens that come out of the ground.

Harlan Ogilvy in Spielberg’s movie says it well when he affirms that “they’ve been planning this for a million years.”

Ogilvy’s words remind me of the Old Testament truth that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1: 9).

In response to modern man’s isolation, depression and radical individualism, I have always been a promoter of Catholic community life.

Yes,  light up the cigars and let the wine, the whiskey and the tequila flow.


Why not?  Did I miss something when I read “and God saw that it was good”?

You see, old ideas do rise out of the ground.  Call it what you want: Manichaeism, Jansenism or Puritanism.  They all basically say the same thing: everything is bad and everything is sin.

These old ideas have gripped a lot of Catholics here in America and Your Honor, I object.  Give me a freaking break.

I have lived in Spain for five years, Mexico for six and Italy for two.   Wow, they sure do know how to live and they sure do know how to enjoy life.  You know why?  Let’s see now…could Catholicism have something to do with it?

Hilaire Belloc once said: “Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine.  At least I’ve always found it so.  Benedicamus Domino!”


When it comes to cigars and libations, of course everything must take place with moderation.  Hey, that’s what virtue is all about.

But, if you are still a snarly snob, I suggest that you spend some time in a Catholic culture.  There you will learn how to have a love affair with life and God’s creation.

All right, let me step back for a moment and let’s listen to another Texan tell us about the goodness of God’s creation.

In 1952, Armon M. Sweat, Jr., a member of the Texas House of Representatives, was asked about his position on whiskey.

“If you mean whiskey, the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.


However, if  by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into Texas treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favor of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to compromise on matters of principle.”

I am sure that Mr. Sweat would have something similar to say about cigar smoking too.

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posted August 18, 2011 at 7:28 pm

“So, smoking or any other habit is not a problem. The problem is thought, which is your approach to the fact. You are the problem, not the habit which you have created; and thus you will see, if you really try, how difficult it is for the mind to be free from the sense of condemnation and justification. When your mind is free, the problem of smoking – or any other problem – is nonexistent” -Krishnamurti

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