As a theologian, I take an interest in the drinking practices of different religious groups. I was especially intrigued by the nuns after discovering the controversy behind drinking in different orders. I decided to conduct more research on this and therefore visited a Catholic church to get first-hand information. I was lucky enough to interact with many nuns and learned a lot about when they drink. Last month, as I was teaching about the consumption of alcohol among nuns, one of my theology students asked whether there are specific rules set to prohibit nuns from drinking. Another one was curious to find out how much alcohol a nun can take. Having interacted with the nuns in the Catholic Church, I had all the correct answers at my fingertips. So can nuns drink?
Some nuns drink while others do not since some religious orders allow it and others prohibit it. Scholars suggest that drinking is more of a personal preference since the nuns do not take any vow of sobriety as they commit themselves to religious service. However, most religious orders that allow nuns to drink insist that it must be done in moderation.
In this article, I invite you to join me as we delve into the drinking practices of nuns. Keep reading to find out on what occasions nuns are allowed to drink, how much they can drink, if they smoke, and much more!
Is there a restriction against alcohol for nuns?
No. Orders do not set specific rules prohibiting the consumption of alcohol. They argue that even Jesus drank wine in Luke 22:17-38. Therefore, nuns can drink freely if they want to. Most orders allow their nuns to drink on certain occasions.
When they become nuns, they make no vow related to drinking. Some nuns are okay with enjoying beer, while others choose not to drink at all. Those who choose not to drink imply that the Bible says that the body is a gift from God and should always be treated as his temple.
On the other hand, some theologians speculate that nuns are prohibited from drinking during holy days. For instance, they are not allowed to drink during fasting or Lent. A few orders, like the Franciscan, did not allow their nuns to take alcohol under any circumstances. In other orders, like the Cistercian order, consuming alcohol formed part of their culture. They even brew alcohol.
How much alcohol can nuns drink?
Though some nuns choose to drink alcohol, they are prohibited from drinking excessively. Nuns can only drink in moderation since drunkenness in convents is not tolerated. They believe that drunkenness is a sin, as stated in Galatians 5:19-21.
Most nuns, therefore, stick to alcoholic drinks with low alcohol content, like beer or wine. They also take a few glasses of such alcoholic drinks. Drinking excessively is discouraged among the nuns since they believe it can make it hard for one to conduct their religious responsibilities.
On what occasions are nuns allowed to drink?
Since alcohol is one of the main components of Christian festivities, nuns are often allowed to drink during holidays like Christmas Eve. Most of them spend the Christmas season away from their homes and loved ones and therefore find ways to celebrate among themselves.
Nuns often take wine during such festivities since they imply that it represents the blood of Jesus. They drink wine as a reminder of the sacrifice he made for believers when he died on the cross and look forward to his return (Matthew 24:36). However, even during such festivities, the nuns practice moral conscience.
Besides special occasions, some nuns are also allowed to drink alcohol in moderation when they have guests and want to express hospitality. However, for stricter orders, the nuns must get permission from their superiors before doing this.
Can nuns smoke?
Most religious orders prohibit smoking among the nuns. They discourage nuns from smoking because they may develop health conditions that can hinder them from serving the Lord and helping the community.
Additionally, nuns are not encouraged to smoke since it can lead to financial problems. Nuns take a vow of poverty, and when one is addicted to poverty, they may find themselves using community money to buy cigarettes. Since nuns spend a lot of time among other nuns, smoking makes living hard among non-smokers.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.