|The Executive Rambling: Alcohol a valued part of the Benedictine tradition|
|Friday, 10 October 2008|
As the founder of our Abbey’s motherhouse, Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. is greatly responsible for our college’s existence.
Thus, the founder of our Abbey’s congregation was around for the beginning of what became the Oktoberfest tradition.
Some have come to call Oktoberfest “the world’s largest beer fest.” Annually, over 6 million people find themselves in Bavaria for the 16-day festival at which 1.5 million gallons of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausage and 480,000 spit-roasted chickens are consumed.
Aside from the consumption of food an alcohol, Oktoberfest is also an important expression of German culture and history.
While the main purpose of Oktoberfest is not to consume alcohol, filling mugs with a frosty brew is and has been an integral mode of Oktoberfest celebration.
Oktoberfest is not the only tradition that alcohol is a part of.
Alcohol, most specifically beer, is intimately related to our Bavarian, Benedictine and Catholic traditions as a whole.
It is, in fact, known that our Bavarian Pope Benedict XVI prefers beer to wine. This year, it was reported that that the German brewery Stuttgarter Hofbräu sent 24,000 bottles of one of the Pope’s preferred beers to the Vatican’s household. It is unknown whether the delivery was a gift or ordered.
Coming from a Catholic, Benedictine and Bavarian tradition, it seems more than appropriate to embrace the use of alcohol.
The moderate consumption of alcohol is not only acceptable within these traditions but is actually good. Our College deserves a level of praise for understanding this principle and allowing moderate consumption of alcohol on campus.
The fact that alcohol is allowed in conformity with the law of the land presents the opportunity for students to learn to have fun responsibly with and without alcohol.
While our College does have a reasonable policy regarding alcohol’s private use, it may be missing opportunities to use alcohol for our benefit. We are constantly asking ourselves how to get upperclassmen or off-campus students involved in our activities.
Simply, to include alcohol would bring more upperclassmen and off-campus students to events like Oktoberfest and Springfest.
We have seen recent examples of alcohol contributing to community growth at events. Two of the strongest examples would be recent FOCUS parties or Ferrell’s 2006 Irishfest.
While planning events, it would be worthwhile for groups, from SGA to Residence Life to FOCUS, to continually ask if letting alcohol be consumed responsibly would give them a more universal appeal.
Aside from attracting more people, the use of alcohol would help connect us to our past and aid us in the responsible use of it. If alcohol is called a good but only allowed behind closed doors, then the only time we will see it is when it is abused or paired with a feeling of rebellion and shame. That allows a confusing message to develop.
Let’s make sure we’re not abandoning a part of our tradition because we’ve gotten used to only seeing it abused.
I wish you a good Oktoberfest. Please take the time to visit all of the dorms and take advantage of what they have to offer. If you are of age, I encourage you to “throw one back” in honor of Archabbot Wimmer, Fr. Henry Lemke, Mother Evangelista Kremmetter and the other German men and women who have given us our institution and heritage.
|< Prev||Next >|