The Catholic Pundits Drinking Game

According to a recovery protocol I just made up, when a person is rounding out his seventh straight week of sobriety, he can get nostalgic about his old life. Last week, while writing my weekly Patheos column, it occurred to me that Catholic writers tend to reach for certain stock phrases and fall into other predictable habits. I am no exception. It’s a mug’s game, writing.

But rather than uncap our blue pens or train our gimlet eyes, let’s pull out our beer cozies and have fun with it — in a good, old-fashioned college-style drinking game.

Start with a bottle of Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse — Bavarian wheat beer that tastes like Dr. Brown’s cream soda but can knock you naked. On the bottle is a crocked Franciscan friar, which is all the denominational correctness anyone needs. Circumstances may call for harder stuff, so stay close to a stocked bar.

Next, click over to some online Catholic publication. With drink in hand, skim the articles, observing the following rules:

For National Catholic Reporter and America Magazine:

1. If the article’s title refers to the “changing” or “emerging” faces of anything, take a sip.

2. If it includes the words “transparency” or “accountability,” take a sip.

3. If a Eugene Cullen Kennedy column features three or more sentences of more than 50 words apiece, take two sips.

4. If the editors use the word “prophetic” to describe someone who’s about to be marched out of the Church to the beat of muffled drums, take two sips.

5. If John Allen, Jr. touts a new papabile, slam it.

6. If Fr. Jim Martin, S.J. talks up some chick saint like she’s Rogue from the X-Men, do a beer bong.

For First Things:

1. If someone posts a comment entirely in Latin, take a sip.

2. If the next poster in the thread points out where he incorrectly declined one or more of his nouns, take two sips.

3. If George Weigel makes you feel guilty for sitting out the Cold War in some ivory tower, do a shot of Belvedere.

4. If the word “authority” appears more than ten times in a single piece, smack your neighbor with a rattan cane until he fixes you a gin and tonic and hands it to you along with the benediction “Oh-jollee-good-sahib!”

5. If an article is titled “In Defense of X,” “In Praise of Y,” “Z Reconsidered,” or “The Case for A,” do a body shot off your neighbor — especially if the thing being defended, praised, reconsidered or advocated is a virtue like temperance or modesty.

For Diary of A Wimpy Catholic






I’m a good enough sport to stand a roasting, but not quite a good enough sport to turn up the oven myself. This section I’ll leave for my clever readers to fill in. Remember: have fun, be safe, and don’t do anything I don’t miss doing. If you can’t afford a cab, mi sofa es su sofa.

UPDATE: Patheos has been upgrading all of its blogs these past few days.  Last night, right after I submitted this post, the tech guy took care of mine.   That’ll mean I have to approve comments, even from people who could comment at will under the old configuration.  If you posted last night, I apologize for not getting to your stuff until now.

  • MeanLizzie

    Whenever he throws in a random French phrase — coldcock your neighbor with a bottle. :-)

  • Tim

    Diary of a Wimpy Catholic:

    1. Whenever you find yourself scrolling down to the end of post to see how much longer this thing goes on, take a drink.

  • Bob Zyskowski, St. Paul

    A category for diocesan newspapers would be good, no?

    1. If you count more than two “news” photos of the Ordinary of the diocese, have a Bloody Mary.
    2. If, along with the two-plus “news” photos of the Ordinary there is also a mug shot of the Ordinary with his regular column or “letter from the bishop,” have a beer chaser with that Bloody.
    3. If, along with the two-plus “news” photos of the Ordinary and the mug shot with his column there is also a news story with a mug shot of the Ordinary, make it a Grey Goose Bloody.
    4. If there is more than one story that begins “Bishop John Doe…”, skip the Bloody Mary mix and just do vodka shooters.
    5. If there is even one photo with a dozen people lined up for a photo with a bishop or priest (all looking at the camera) and the faces of the people are no bigger than Lincoln’s head on a penny so that only their mothers’ can tell who is in the photo, switch to rock’n’ rye, neat.
    6. If the lead story on Page 1 is something that you read about in your daily newspaper or saw on TV or the web one week before and does not add perspective, make a run for a six-pack, preferably a local craft brew.
    7. If there is a page that has a headline and type but no photo, no pull-out quote, no art of any kind, grab a 12-pack instead of the sixer.
    8. If the only commentary columns are from chancery department heads, swtich to wine and go for any cabernet except the house wine.
    9. If there is a groundbreaking photo with people holding shovels and pretending to dig, switch to the most expensive cab on the wine list.
    10. If there is a regular recipe column, a check-passing photo, obituaries of people who died a month ago, an annual list of every Catholic in the diocese who died the previous year, inquire about getting single-malt scotch in your I.V.

  • Abe Vafiades

    I truly enjoy reading on this internet site , it contains great blog posts.

  • Caroline

    A Catholic blog that’s actually funny! I’ve found my holy grail.

    Although – “chick saint”? Come on, dude.

    (Here, I’ll make the comeback for you so you don’t have to do the dirty work.
    “How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?”
    “That’s not funny.”)

  • stefanie

    Slam dunk here — I’ve saving this post as a favorite when I get abit frustrated with our Catholic ‘online presence’ — although I admit, I would never have the stamnia to produce and accept criticism of even one column I’d written on a regular basis. God bless ya, sir!

  • Jan

    Lookin’ kind of scary there, Max…

  • Kathy

    An 8-oz. glass of Manischewitz for every Yiddish reference!

  • Ernest Pavese

    Thanks for every other excellent post. The place else may just anybody get that type of information in such an ideal method of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such info.

  • Holly in Nebraska

    For every reference supporting women’s ordination, you have to take one bra shot off Joan Chittister.

    Am I banned yet?

  • maxlindenman

    I’m afraid not. But keep up the good work anyway!

  • Luna

    For every reference to Mother Russia, a shot of vodka, accompanied by cries of “Gorko, gorko, gorko!” This can also be turned into a kissing game with significant-other co-readers of the blog.

  • Pearty

    1. For every dash followed by an attempt at sarcastic wit – like that will be hard – take a sip.

  • Nick R

    Is this too simple?

    “Every time Max mentions booze or sobriety…”

    [Coleridge wrote:

    "What is an epigram? A dwarfish whole;
    Its body brevity, and wit its soul."

    Carry on, sir. -- admin]

  • Joanne K McPortland

    For Diary of a Wimpy Catholic:
    1. For every mention of Therese of Lisieux (aka, Max’s Dead French Girlfriend), quaff a nice Puligny-Montrachet.
    2. Raise a Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA in tribute to any mention of The Best Dog in the World. (Switch up to the 90-Minute IPA for every picture of a basset hound.)
    3. For every mention of Max’s misspent youth in credit default swaps or whatever that was, dance with the Green Fairy, absinthe.
    4. Cadillac margarita, rocks and salt, for any mention of Arizona flora or fauna.
    5. And the next time Max threatens to quit either blogging or the Church, it’s Drano shots all around.