…and makes an amazing cocktail. Fr. William Dailey is the Thomas More Fellow at Notre Dame. He is also, according to this account on the website Munchies, a “cocktail geek” who makes a great martini and likes to talk about it.
Drinking is often part of religious rites. How do you separate religious drinking from drinking for “fun”? Should it feel different?
Father William Dailey: For Catholics, wine is a part of our celebration of the Eucharist. It is a commemoration of the Last Supper and we believe, in the liturgy, it becomes the very body and blood of Jesus. So though the senses are deceived, as St. Thomas said, the occasion is reverent, not social, and involves only inviting in a very tiny amount of the precious blood. In this sense, yes, it would feel and look different and, though celebratory, not the same celebration.
Saturday night is the night most people drink. Sunday morning is the time most people go to church. How does this affect religious attendance?
I certainly believe that having an evening mass on a Sunday encourages the attendance of many people under the age of 40 for reasons not unrelated to your question. In earlier times, Catholic parishes had masses at midnight on Saturday so that laborers finishing a night shift could get mass in and then go have a drink. Perhaps because we have fewer priests around we are not so accommodating today.
Do you ever drink socially with your congregants?Does a great bar offer any similar sense of community as a church?
Sure. My faculty colleagues here at Notre Dame regularly attend masses at which I preside. I have baptized their children, married off their children, or been in the hospital when a loved one was dying. They will frequently ask, “Are you pouring tonight?” I am happy to host them or to accept their hospitality.
Absolutely! A bar with a good community of regulars is a place to find laughter in good times, consolation in bad times, and advice in confusing times. I have experienced all of these in wonderful places in New York, such as Death & Co. or PDT, and a place here on campus we like to call Murph’s, after the bartender who has been at the stick for decades. Similarly, church is where we go to celebrate the birth of a child, to mourn the loss of a loved one, to find communion in a new place, and to offer and receive support.
At bars we often find ourselves in conversations with strangers that enter the philosophical or therapeutic realm. Do you respond as Father Dailey or as Bill, a fellow drinker?
I never hide the fact that I am a priest if there is some decent reason to mention it. If I am not in uniform, it’s still common for people to ask what I do, or the bartender will generally call me Father Bill and then people know. I hope that whether people know I am a priest or not, since that is who I am, that is how I respond.
Read it all. And check out Fr. Bill’s martini recipe at the link.