Today is the birthday of one of our favorite actors here at the B-Movie Catechism, Sir Christopher Lee. And what better way to celebrate than to enjoy a clip from one of his most frightening performances. Which one is it, you may ask? Well, it’s probably not one you’d expect, so go right ahead and forget about his Frankenstein, dismiss his Dracula, set aside his Saruman, and poo poo his Count Dooku! Here, ladies and gentlemen, is Christopher Lee at his most menacing as… the mysterious Mr. Midnight!

My apologies if that tune revisits you in your nightmares.

But what about poor Captain Invincible, huh? If only he’d paid attention to the Catechism where it says, “the virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine”, then maybe he might have avoided the alcoholism that makes him so vulnerable to Mr. Midnight’s manipulations in this scene.

You know, Christianity’s relationship with alcohol is interesting. The Catholic Encyclopedia readily acknowledges that “from a sociological standpoint, we are compelled by incontrovertible evidence to acknowledge that [alcohol] is of all causes the most frequent source of poverty, unhappiness, divorce, suicide, immorality, crime, insanity, disease, and death.” And yet the Church has no problem with its members enjoying a few drinks here and there as long as they don’t overdo it. Even the early Protestants were okay with knocking back a few. Salem’s Increase Mather (father of Cotton), for instance, may have been a staunch puritan, but he apparently didn’t mind a good bit of grog after a long day of witch burnings. “Drink is in itself a good creature of God” he is quoted as saying, “and to be received with thankfulness.” In fact, Protestant temperance only really came into vogue when John Wesley and the Methodists began preaching against its use outside of The Lord’s Supper. These days, however, even those voices have mostly gone silent. So while you’re unlikely to find beer being served at your local Baptist church’s pot luck supper, most modern Protestants will happily wave back to you if see them at the liquor store rather than ducking for cover behind the peanuts display. In the end, I guess even they realized it’s kind of hard to condemn the responsible use of the stuff when even our God drank wine, going so far as to make some more when the vats ran dry at the wedding in Cana.

We are God’s children, yes, but in many ways we are his grown children. He respects our free will and allows us the opportunity to exercise our stewardship over the fruits of the earth. We should thank him for this honor every time we pop open a bottle of brew. There’s even a prayer for the occasion that’s been floating around the Net for awhile now.

Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord.

Of course, being a grownup cuts both ways. So if we happen to pop open a few too many and find ourselves the next morning genuflecting at the porcelain altar of the false god of excess rather than at the altar we should be kneeling at, then a bit of confession is in order. And if your confessor needs any suggestions for a penance, just link him to the video above. Ten Hail Marys and a dose of Christopher Lee singing should do it.

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