Speaking at a special Mass in St. Joseph’s Dundalk today to mark Temperance Sunday, Cardinal Seán Brady said that it was unfortunate that the word ‘temperance’ was usually restricted to the question of alcoholic drink.  That restriction enables people to conveniently forget that the virtue of temperance refers not specifically to drink but to other areas of life as well and that it implies not necessarily abstaining but going the right length and no further.  The Cardinal said “Restricting the word ‘Temperance’ to alcoholic drink helps people forget that one can be intemperate about lots of other things, with equally disastrous effects on life”.  Cardinal Brady continued:

“However, Temperance Sunday does, once again, try to remind us of the tragedy of so many young Irish lives ruined each year because of alcohol and substance abuse.  Perhaps the economic crisis will help to focus attention at last on the full extent and seriousness of alcohol-related problems such as absenteeism and accidents which are estimated to cost the State three billion Euros per year.  I congratulate the 100,000 Pioneer Association members on their courageous and faithful testimony in the cause of moderation and self-control”. 

Cardinal Brady went on to express his wholehearted support of their campaign to persuade people to refrain from, or at least reduce, their consumption of alcohol during Lent. 

Cardinal Brady also congratulated the Jesuit publication, The Pioneer on its elegant and excellent free edition published to mark Temperance Sunday.

He continued: “Temperance Sunday challenges everybody.  It invites us to review our attitude and behaviour in our use of alcoholic drink.  It summons us to play our part in building a society where people can live to their full potential and alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation”.

The Cardinal believes that the key elements of the spirituality of the Pioneers – prayer, self-denial in the form of fasting from alcohol and reparation received a huge boost in the 2009 Lenten Message of Pope Benedict XVI.  The message is devoted to fasting.  “Fasting”, Pope Benedict says, “certainly brings benefits to our physical well being – but for believers – fasting is, in the first place, a therapy to heal all that prevents them from conforming to the will of God”