The media have been having a bit of fun with the story about the seven seminarians who walked into a pub in Cardiff last weekend in clerical garb and were initially refused service by a barman who thought they were a stag party in fancy dress, before the assistant manager stepped in and rectified the misunderstanding by offering them a free round of drinks.
The bit that caught my eye though was the statement by the Archbishop of Cardiff in which he said, "It's wonderful to hear that the seminarians were celebrating their own path to priesthood by having a good time in Cardiff, which of course they are allowed to have."
It seems to me that the Archbishop is responding there to the unspoken idea that there is something wrong with priests, or those training to become priests, enjoying a few pints in a pub. I blame Henry VIII.
As well as triggering a schism from Rome with his adulterous marriage to Anne Boleyn, Henry in unleashing the English Reformation shut down the monasteries which until then had brewed huge volumes of beer, as well as being the economic hub of an agrarian society, buying goods from the small farmers and tradespeople around them.
Thankfully, the connection between the Church and brewing continued elsewhere in Europe, with merry monks and plastered priests still adorning beer bottles from the Trappist breweries of Belgium and the monasteries of Bavaria.