The Catholic Church tries a new way to get people closer to God – they’ve opened a bar…
Bergoglio backs bar but is silent on Church Closures. Why am I not surprised?
Drinking leads to poverty
Because they that give themselves to drinking, and that club together shall be consumed; and drowsiness shall be clothed with rags. Who hath woe? whose father hath woe? who hath contentions? who falls into pits? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? Surely they that pass their time in wine, and study to drink of their cups. Look not upon the wine when it is yellow, when the color thereof shineth in the glass: it goeth in pleasantly, But in the end, it will bite like a snake, and will spread abroad poison like a basilisk. Thy eyes shall behold strange women, and thy heart shall utter perverse things. And thou shalt be as one sleeping in the midst of the sea, and as a pilot fast asleep, when the stern is lost. And thou shalt say: They have beaten me, but I was not sensible of pain: they drew me, and I felt not: when shall I awake, and find wine again?
– Proverbs 23: 21, 29-35 DRV
The Tavern is the house of the devil, the market where the souls are lost, where family harmony is broken, where fights start, and assassinations are committed. The devil does not care much for the owners of the taverns; he despises them and spits them out.” St. John Vianney
A new bar in Lille has opened with the backing of the Catholic Church following a call from Bergoglio asking the church to “think outside the square.”
A bar being run by the Catholic Church might sound like the setting for a lame Irish joke, but it’s not Irish and it’s no joke.
AFP reports that a bar recently opened in northern France with the backing of the Catholic Church. Bar Cana in Lille launched this month as part of an effort to reach out to younger people, who might be more willing to interact in a bar on a Saturday night than in church on Sunday morning.
“It is, at heart, an effort to reach young people and those who have never had the idea of entering a church. And perhaps it is easier to go into a bar,”said Benjamin Florin a 29-year-old Lille diocesan worker who was one of the initiators of the project.
The bar’s name is significant, referring to the wedding feast at Cana, where Jesus is said to have performed his first miracle – turning water into wine, rather than the infinitely easier and much more common practice of turning wine into water.
Although we can’t help thinking that the type of interaction likely among young people in a bar on a Saturday night is not quite what would be acceptable during Mass the next morning.
Bar Cana was inspired by the Pope, who has told the church to think outside the square when it comes to going about its pastoral business and this is certainly a left-field idea.
It took two years of planning applications and a financial kick-start from the church to get started, but customers have seen it as a blessing.
Aurélien, Constance and Sylvain were sipping Trappist beer at the bar when AFP spoke to them. “The concept of a Catholic bar intrigued us,” said practicing Catholic Sylvain. “They want to break the traditional image; you can feel a new way to live the Gospel, even if this time they change water into beer.”
The bar has one full-time employee and a dozen volunteers who will be serving food, slinging drinks and performing the traditionally sacred bartender service of offering a friendly ear, presumably in lieu of an official confession session.
“They will be there mainly for talking to people, if they wish, and for listening,” explained Régis Héaulme, a deacon and president of the Bar Cana Association.
There are nods to traditional Catholicism throughout the bar: the wifi password is Deo Gratias (God be thanked), and a carafe of house wine is referred to as a Madonna. Above the beer pumps (all the beers come from abbeys and monasteries, naturally) is a figurine of Pope Francis, and Biblical verses adorn the walls. Sadly, AFP doesn’t say if the wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape or if the top shelf is filled with holy spirits.
While it might not sound like the sort of place to hit up for a raging Friday night, the bar does focus more on the “good works” end of religion, rather than the “thou shalt not” side. Patrons come in and buy two coffees and get one; the other is paid forward for someone who can’t afford one. And the profits from the operation go towards humanitarian projects in needy areas.
They might have to look more closely at their business model if they want to make a real difference to the world’s needy, however; the bar opened on March 18, thereby missing out on the world’s most profitable drinking occasion, Saint Patrick’s Day, by 24 hours.