Pope Francis lifts up the chalice as he leads a vigil Mass during Easter celebrations at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on April 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-WINE, originally transmitted on June 8, 2016.

Pope Francis is no Baptist: A wedding without wine is ‘shameful!’

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Francis has upended many traditions during his extraordinary pontificate, to the point that some have wondered whether he is really Catholic.

But the pope has now made one thing clear: He's sure not a Baptist.

Addressing pilgrims at his weekly public audience in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday (June 8), Francis reflected on the wedding feast of Cana during which Jesus turned water into wine, the first miracle of his public ministry.

That was a crucial symbolic action to demonstrate he was the husband of the people of God, Francis said -- an episode that reflects of God’s love and also shows how wine is central to marking the joy of a new marriage.

“How is it possible to celebrate the wedding and have a party if you lack what the prophets indicated was a typical element of the messianic banquet?” the pope asked.

“Water is necessary to live, but wine expresses the abundance of the feast and the joy of the celebration. And a wedding party which lacks wine -- the newlyweds feel ashamed of this," the pontiff said.

Then he added:

“But imagine finishing a wedding party drinking tea -- it would be shameful! Wine is necessary for the celebration."

The pope himself is not much of a drinker, though he enjoys a glass now and then.

But his theology of wine might not win him favor with some of his abstemious Protestant friends, such as members of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has passed more than 50 resolutions on the negative effects of alcohol.

The fast-growing Assemblies of God movement also prohibits its ministers from drinking and encourages members to abstain. The United Methodist Church, on the other hand, once required all clergy to sign an abstinence pledge, but the practice was abandoned decades ago.

For Catholics and other, more traditional churches, wine is essential to the Mass -- reflecting its use in the Last Supper -- and it is a long-standing part of Catholic culture in most places.

Those are likely some of the reasons that the Vatican -- a city-state of just a few hundred permanent residents -- has the world's highest per capita wine consumption.

According to 2014 research by the California-based Wine Institute, the amount of wine consumed in the Vatican amounts to almost 20 gallons for each resident annually.


  1. I’ve lived in the south (usa) for 45 years and can attest that the baptist/methodist bible belters are hypocrites. Beer, wine, liquor and drugs are enjoyed by a large segment. My cousin drove a taxi in a small SC town years ago and much of his business was buying and delivering spirits for the town’s prominent citizens who could ill afford to be seen buying alcohol.

  2. A wedding without wine is simply a wedding without wine. It’s not shameful.

    Shameful are the latest reports of priestly sexual abuse and the efforts of bishops to cover them up.

  3. If you do not want to drink wine do not drink wine. But, do not tell me it is a sin to drink wine. Eating to much food and becoming obese is a sin. By the way Ben wine consumption has nothing to do with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and by the way I doubt seriously if your church denomination has never had any sexual abuse by clergy in it.

  4. Wherever a Catholic sun doth shine,
    There’s bound to be laughter and good red wine.

    Hilaire Belloc

    Argentina produces some good wines, I’m told.

  5. This is certainly a pope who knows where the cameras will be set up. He got his weekly bit into the international media. Seems like this omni-present pontiff could pick some more compellilng topics than who drinks wine. Maybe he’s in bed with some group in California that markets the fruit of the vine.

  6. There’s CErmle, back with his gay sex obsession. Why don’t you just find a boyfriend and get it over with? ?

  7. “Move on, boss, move on.”

    Just can’t let it go, can you? Cheap shots at me don’t disguise your gay obsession. You bring it up again and again.

  8. Hahahahahahahaha! Look who’s talking, the guy who stalks every article he can turn against LBTG folks. Get your own life, not theirs.

  9. No to drinking wine (or other beverages)? It depends on which Baptist you’re talking to.

  10. Get your own life, not the gays and not mine. Sweetheart. ? 🙂

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