Saying Mass and driving would be a no-no

Saying Mass and driving would be a no-no

There’s a rumor that Ireland’s government is contemplating a zero-alcohol limit drunk-driving law. Aside from the many jokes that spring to mind about Irishmen drinking, there is some concern among Catholic clergy. After all, if you’re not allowed to have any alcohol, what’s a priest who’s just finished Mass to do?

Father Brian D’Arcy – perhaps Ireland’s best-known Catholic priest – told BBC News Online that such an approach would be “risible” and would mean priests saying several Masses would be unable to drive legally.

We want a law that allows people to drive and not drive people off the road. We want a law that’s applicable and reasonable, not risible. Nobody in their right mind would want that,” said Father D’Arcy, himself a teetotaller.

Father D’Arcy points out that with fewer priests available, individual priests are being required to celebrate in multiple parishes on the same day, driving in between each. He points out, “Even if they just lower the current permissible alcohol levels for driving, you would be in great danger of being over the limit after three Masses.”

Unfortunately, Ireland is not likely to be the last place where this crops up. In fact, it’s not the first. Croatia contemplated a zero-limit law back in 2004 and Hungary, Estonia, Romania, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia all have such laws on the books. Any bets on which American jurisdiction will be the first?

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
2 comments
  • Father D’Arcy’s comments are just plain silly!

    Nothing says that the priest must consume any more than a few drops of the precious blood at any given sacrifice.  The accidental alchol content of which is negligable. 

    Also unless his Masses take less than 30 minutes the body should be able to break down this accident of the Precious Blood, well before it become a problem.

    Maybe the problem is communion under both species, and the unknown factor of how much precious blood might remain. But with just a little prudent planning even this is not a major issue.  Of course worse come to worse you could just have a perfectly valid and licit Mass with Communion under only one species, couldn’t you?

  • It is my understanding that the priest has to communicate in both kinds for a valid mass.  It is true that he could use a small amount of wine. 

    As for left over wine when a lot has been consecrated for lay communion in both kinds…well when that many lay people communicate in both kinds there are almost always Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (see I used the proper term).  I think it is legit for them to finish what is left in the chalice?  I hope so because that was the practice several places where I was an EMHC, and I did so upon occasion.(Although it was much more common for us to run out while there were still more communicants in line.)  Of course then my BAC would not have been zero either.    As for mass lasting 30 minutes…it doesn’t last 30 minutes after the end of communion, for sure. 

    The legal limit for BAC should be set where most people would be impaired.  Surely that can be figured out.
    Susan Peterson

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