Friday, February 21, 2014

The Catholic Church and Prohibition

For the last few days, this question has been bouncing around in my head:
During prohibition, were priests allowed to use wine during Mass?
So yesterday, I emailed the question to the go to person of the libertarian movement on Catholic questions, Tom Woods (See:  How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization)

He responded in seconds:
The Volstead Act exempted wine for sacramental use. Otherwise there would have been an enormous uproar, since without wine a valid Mass cannot be said.


  1. Always thought it interesting that Christ's first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding, and at the Last Supper, wine was used ceremonially with his disciples.

    Begs the question, just when did drinking become a sin...

    1. Sometime after The Reformation. I don't know for sure, but it is likely attached to the Great Awakening.

  2. The San Antonio winery in downtown Los Angeles was able to survive through prohibition because they were able to produce wine for sacramental purposes. Obviously, they continue to provide this wine to this day.

  3. This is a wonderful book on the subject. I think Prohibition is a great tool for teaching libertarianism.