FREE BEER! No… really! FREE BEER. St. Paul, MN: ALERT for MEN! 8 May Argument of the Month

In my native place of the Twin Cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) there is a parish whose patron is St. Augustine, a favorite of mine, where both Ordinary and, above all, Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite are used.  The pastor there, a friend of decades – all around good guy who, in his copious free time, is also a military chaplain – has done a good deal to support ministry to Catholic men, to help them build their identity as Catholic men in a society which seems pretty hostile to masculinity.

At that parish they have held on pretty much a monthly basis, the Argument of the Month.  Men only are invited.  Speakers on tough topics are invited in and sometimes arguments ensure.  There is a huge quantity of free unhealthy good food, free beer and, with this coming AOM, free cigars as well.

Here is the notice:


Throw off the shackles of your Puritan heritage and join us at Saint Augustine’s in South Saint Paul on May 8th for our last AOTM of the season. We’re going out with a bang…or at least a good deal of smoke. What makes AOTM different (and we say better) than other similar events is the atmosphere – the conversations, the food and drink, and now the SMOKING. The pre-argument party starts at 3 PM on the luxuriant greens of Saint Augustine. A tent will be set up in case of rain, so don’t think we’ll call it off on account of weather. We’ll have beer (still free) and cigars for sale – feel free to bring your pipe if you smoke one. We’ll also be roasting the food and reserve the right to conscript you into volunteer service should the need arise. The schedule for the day is as follows:

Smoking and Drinking: 3 PM
Appetizers: 6 PM
Dinner: 7 PM
Presentation: 7:30 PM

As promised the presentation will focus on the marriage amendment. We’ll take a look at some of the larger issues. What brought us to this junction and where do we go from here win or lose? The debate format will be replaced by a panel of speakers, providing the most robust analysis of the marriage amendment you’re likely to hear.

Argument of the Month
408 3rd Street North
South Saint Paul, MN

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Bryan Boyle says:

    Roasted animal flesh, beer, cigars, and animated discussion? Wish I was a lot closer…would never pretend to be as intelligent as that crowd, but would be a great way to share no-quarter-given male company.

  2. Nicole says:

    I don’t really understand why smoking a cigar is considered masculine. It seems like a plain old bad idea to me, lungs being made to breathe air and all (not smoke) as well as for other silly reasons like definite cancer risk…and this coming from someone whose father is an avid cigar smoker.

  3. Nicole says:

    By the way…I do understand that not everyone inhales the “first-hand” cigar smoke, and that it’s typically discouraged, but some still do…so there :P [Not to worry. You are not invited.]

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Of course there are women who smoke cigars out there. There’s a lot more women who drink beer and eat roasted food. That’s not the point.

    The point is to let guys get together without women, and to provide free stuff to make it more like a party or picnic, and thus to get the guys very relaxed and receptive to learning and thinking.

    The Irish poets always fed their students on days when they were holding class. This both allowed them to practice thinking about poetry in a social setting like the one in which they would serve their lords, and made the students ready to learn. (On days when you weren’t at class, whether it was a poet school or the monastery college kind, the students had to spread out into the countryside and beg, or otherwise earn food. In practice, it seems that many of the more prosperous nearby inhabitants chose students to give board to, as yeshiva students used to be fed in Eastern Europe. At least the poetic students had a trade to practice.)

  5. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    As a female, let me be the first to say that I think it is a splendid thing for the gentlemen to have such an evening out. My prayers are with you!

  6. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    On the cigars… I don’t like cigarettes and smoking, but I think a celebratory cigar or pipe isn’t going to hurt anyone, unless they are asthmatic.

    I bought my pastor some nice cigars to share with his brother priests on a special occasion. He will smoke one very rarely.

    I can’t stand seeing a woman smoke a cigar. There are just too many lewd references out there for that.

  7. Iowander says:

    I find it quite appropriate that they enjoy beer at a parish called St. Augustine’s. He’s the patron of brewers!

  8. nanetteclaret says:

    “Roasting?” What is that? Everyone knows that only smoked ribs, smoked brisket, or smoked beer-butt chicken ( with BBQ sauce) go with beer and cigars! At least here in Texas …

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    The bad vibes from cigars and women who are no better than they should be go back a long, long way . . . .
    . . . remember Lola Montez? [This is a manifestation of the FFLF.]

  10. Scott W. says:

    Your body is a temple. Don’t forget the incesnse–pass the box of robustos!

  11. Kenneth Hall says:

    I don’t smoke, but being around it don’t bother me none, and it sounds like a great idea in any event. I need to find out whether anyone in the Diocese of Cleveland is thinking of or doing anything along these lines. I need something other than my fellow academics and the Intertubes to stretch my brain.

  12. pforrester says:

    I as a woman am jealous. Not so much about the beer and cigars but getting ARGUE! Women can NEVER plan such an event. Someone might get their feelings hurt. Sigh……

  13. pforrester: Men and boys who don’t have masculinity problems have the ability to duke it out and then either be friends or at least be civil.

  14. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fr. Z,

    Dear Mr. Kipling is not very popular right now, but he hit it off in one:

    So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
    With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
    Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
    To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

    One of the great things about legal training is that it teaches women the possibility of separating argument from personal animosity. I know plenty of attorneys for whom it is war to the knife in the courtroom, then everybody goes out to lunch. It’s a concept everybody ought to learn . . . I’m still trying but at least I’m aware of the principle. :-D

  15. MariaKap says:

    As the eldest of 8 with 7 bros and nary a sis – it sounds like fun! But, wait, 3 hours of smoking and drinking before the appetizers show up? Really? They just drink and smoke? What do guys talk about anyway? I don’t get it. I guess I’m too female. (Viva la difference!) Have fun boys!

  16. James Joseph says:

    I am moving out of Utah in a week or so, and driving East…. I have never been to Minnesota or any other part of Canada. I have been impressed by what I have seen in an online presentation of the Argument of the Month.

    Given the circumstances cigars, ale, being around other not-so-muddleheaded Baptised men sounds great! Amazing even.

  17. Indulgentiam says:

    Enjoy Father! and gentlemen! some women simply fail to see that the DIFFERENCES between men and women do not have anything to do with inequality and everything to do with VARIETY. Anyone who bothers to look around at ALL the good Lord has created can clearly see His great love of variety. When men get together with other good Catholic men they discuss, learn and see things they do not around women. They come back from such gatherings refreshed, relaxed and often times inspired to do better for God and their family. Sort of challenged to do better than the other guy. In my opinion women, if they are comfortable in their femininity, have to admit that we feel more comfortable more jovial and just plain more engaged when we are in each others company without the fellas. Like speaks to like. I find great comfort and inspiration in the advice given me by those who have walked in my hormones. I like the beer but cigars you can keep. I’m sure you’d say the same about my love of pretty hair combs. And that’s what so great about being different we don’t have to like or feign interest in the same things. We can be comfortable in our differences secure in the fact that the Good God created us this way and it is good!

  18. Jayna says:

    Beer, cigars, meat, and arguments? Sounds like one of my parties.

  19. RichardC says:

    Reminds me of that song by the famous Mineapolis/St. Paul band, The Replacements: All I Want to Do Is Drink Beer for Breakfast. Are we allowed to like rock and roll on this blog and drinking beer for breakfast?–myself, I was never inspired to drink beer for breakfast.–and nowadays I am reduced to chewing tobacco in moderation and only drinking wine–the red kind for me.

  20. Elizabeth D says:

    yuck, just as well that I am not invited. My priest smokes cigars sometimes and although I suppose it is absolutely none of my business I don’t like it and it worries me. I am a non drinker and even avoid “Theology on Tap” (but I am going to the one in June because I am very happy they took my speaker suggestion–Dawn Eden. This is Madison, WI).

    It is healthy for there to be room for men’s events and women’s events.

  21. David Zampino says:

    What a wonderful idea! I wish I lived nearby!

  22. pj_houston says:

    Great idea… as Cigar Dave would say: long ashes to your pastor friend and you!

  23. Juergensen says:

    Sounds great. I’m a big fan of Fr. Echert, from his days as the moderator of the online EWTN Scripture forum; wish he were my pastor.

    But, really, three hours of beer before the appetizers even start? I’m not sure I could have pulled that off even in my college days. :)

  24. Father K says:

    ‘to help them build their identity as Catholic men…
    Smoking and Drinking: 3 PM
    Appetizers: 6 PM
    Dinner: 7 PM
    Presentation: 7:30 PM’

    My own opinion – and that is all it is so don’t all jump down my throat – Are you serious? I find that text and photograph offensive on so many levels – from some of the comments I wonder: are we in 2012 0r 1912? What happened a century ago this month -hubris and its consequences? What has that got to do with ‘masculinity?’ Indolent clericalism and self satisfaction, both of which this picture portrays big time is quite inappropriate. It does absolutely nothing to promote the New Evangelization, and I think runs contrary to not a few Canons. I hope this until now excellent blog doesn’t start going in that direction – if so a big, fat ring [not Episcopal] to complement the big, fat cigar might be in order – embossed with a cameo of Obama [who is guilty of not a little hubris himself it seems]… This is not the way to preach the Gospel. Where, on this oh so ‘masculine’ agenda is time for any prayer?

  25. Jon says:

    Father K,

    In response, allow me to quote another Catholic champion of tobacco and hops:

    “Puritanism is an evil out of the Pit.”
    ~ Hilaire Belloc

    Sorry I can’t engage a little more. Time for Prime.

  26. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Father K: it’s definitely 2012. This is not billed as a prayer meeting, it is a meeting to discuss an important issue without interference.

    I wish I could go, perhaps disguised in a big cigar box. I smoke cigars, like beer, and love meetings such as this (to which I am rarely invited of course because I have the wrong chromosomal structure).

    I was once an honorary United Methodist Man so I could go to their meetings and hear about really interesting stuff, like the police helicopter that landed on our parking lot for a show and tell. I’m not so much into hearing women jabber on and on about husbands and children and the disease of the week.

  27. John Nolan says:

    Also from Rudyard Kipling: “A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke”.

    I understand the Holy Father no longer drinks the beer of his native Bavaria. Having sat in a Biergarten in Regensburg overlooking the Danube, after a splendid High Mass in the cathedral, with the Maibock only having to travel a few yards from the brewery next door, even the woman I was with saw the point. We want Pope Benedict to live at least another ten years, so a bit less Frascati and a bit more of the substance so recommended in the Rituale Romanum (No.58, Benedictio Cerevisiae) would not come amiss.

  28. chonak says:

    Phooey. Smoking isn’t a virtue, and Christian men got along for 1500 years without this accursed innovation of the modern era. I hope for the sake of the parishioners who know that smoking stinks — men who haven’t dulled their senses — that the smoking and the stinking are done in a separate place from the speaking and the arguing.

  29. Tom Ryan says:

    I was there with a group of 4 from Columbus this month. Fr. Echert assured us that while many in attendance have concealed carry permits, the St. Paul police dept will be offering protection against protesters for the May debate.

    The food was excellent .

  30. departing contestant says:

    this is me looking confused and bewildered
    1st that i will be unable to attend this event. what a sound idea. men only for an afternoon. not being sexist just envious for a gathering of men only for a noble pursuit.
    2nd why do others feel the need to chastise and rebuke the event and attendees. it is their event and their choice, happy times and much joy to all who attend

  31. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Not everybody is going to show up Johnny on the spot at 3 PM and spend all three hours there. I’m also sure that Father will have someone keeping a hairy eye on the beer supply, to make sure nobody drinks beyond his capacity. But you know, most people can manage a backyard party that lasts all day and well into the night without having the place crawling with drunks. (Normal life isn’t college life, thank God.) Beer to grownups is mostly a prop for hanging around talking and socializing, and I imagine that there’ll be much more talking than smoking or drinking.

    2. Having three hours of guys sitting out on the parish lawn drinking beer and hanging around will enable men who drive by church to see that there’s a party going on, and thus remind them to come if they’d forgotten. The smoke will be dispersed into the great outdoors, and so will any beer spillage.

    3. The beauty of the schedule is that any man who doesn’t like smoking and drinking, or who has health problems with either, will largely be able to bypass the part he wants to avoid, just by showing up later.

  32. plemmen says:

    Oh for a cold beer and a good cigar! If I survived the ordeal, my cardiologist would kill me. All that hard work keeping me alive and for what? So I could smoke a cigar and enjoy a beer?
    I’ll eat my salads and tofu, not really pasta pasta and non-fat everything (as well as no sugar and no flavor) so I can spend a few more days/weeks/ years? alive and yearning for a bacon sandwich or a pastrami reuben with a nice dark beer …
    Thank you Lord for the life You have granted me, please help me to accept what is and what isn’t possible.
    Amen (But I am still tempted by the beer and cigars) …

  33. anniemw says:

    “We thank God for the beer and the burgundy by not drinking too much.” GK Chesterton

    God gave us tobacco to enjoy occasionally, just as one enjoys a glass of whiskey or cognac occasionally. It’s part of the feasting, and feasting has its seasons, especially when enjoyed with others. I think it’s sad that so many things that make us happy to be human and children of God are looked upon with disdain, or conjure up only negative associations.

    Men do need the company of other men, especially when that fellowship gives them tools to strengthen virtue and holiness. And yes, that can happen amidst blue smoke and the clinking of chilled glasses!!

    I think about quilting bees, and canning parties – traditional ways that women have gathered together to work and play and support one another. We are poorer for the lack of such activities in our modern culture!

    So, the occasional cigar and brandy do not have to mark a cleric doomed to corpulent excess, for Pete’s sake!!

    When my husband was in the Army’s First Cav., we would smoke a cigar at the yearly formal. It was delightful. I stank – so what? So did he – we cancelled each other out! I’ve not had a cigar since those First Cav days, but I cherish those good times and that “trademark” of the Cav that even we women were permitted a glimpse of. .. {Hopefully this won’t bring the pacifists out of the woodwork [wink!]}.

    God bless all! ~ AnnieRW

  34. lucy says:

    Remember that George Burns smoked a cigar and drank a martini every day. He lived to 100. I don’t think the occasional backyard party with beer, cigars, and roasted meat will kill anyone. We are such a mamby-pamby country! I say, be men and live like men! Have a great time!

    Sounds like a function that Chesterton would have enjoyed.

  35. redselchie says:

    I think it’s great.

    A long time ago I read an interesting Jungian book by Moore & Gillette entitled “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine.” One of the points the authors made was that there are precious few “initiatory rites” for boys to become men in modern society these days. I’d love to see something like this in parishes for fathers to bring their sons.

  36. “and I think runs contrary to not a few Canons.”

    Name one.

    Wish I lived closer, or I’d be there too, joining my many friends from the Twin Cities — the American Chesterton Society folks and others — who are sure to be there.

    “Smoke blown out helps clear the mind of cobwebs within.” — J.R.R. Tolkien (speaking through Gandalf)

    Wherever the Catholic Sun doth shine
    There’s always laughter and good red wine
    At least I’ve always heard it’s so
    Benedicamus Domino!
    –Hilaire Belloc

    “Cold pheasant is a good thing, and burgundy is a spanking good thing.” –G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday)

  37. BTW the correct GKC quote is, “We can thank God for burgundy and beer by not drinking too much of them.” (Orthodoxy, chapter 4, “The Ethics of Elfland”)

  38. AnAmericanMother says:

    I’m actually allergic to tobacco, and back in the days when any deposition was conducted under a haze of tobacco smoke, I sneezed and coughed a lot.
    But I really don’t mind it — especially a good cigar or a pipe. And I think guys ought to be free to be guys, without censorious Carrie Nation types telling them not. Our rector wouldn’t be our rector without his omnipresent cigar.
    Go for it, y’all! and have a splendid time.

  39. Indulgentiam says:

    @banjo pickin girl—“I’m not so much into hearing women jabber on and on about husbands and children and the disease of the week.”
    You obviously need to get out more and widen your circle of acquaintances. The ladies that I know have conversations ranging from communism to St. Robert Bellarmine’s treatise on hell. And then there are the rousing apologetic debates and the stimulating conversations about Frs. Spirago and Clark’s The Catechism Explained. Sure we get into the best salve for diaper rash and so on but really we are quite versatile, we’re mothers it comes with the territory. We are homeschooling mom’s and if your ever in the midsouth come on over and we’ll give you a conversation that will blow your methodist man’s socks off. :)

  40. Kathy C says:

    I am flabbergasted. If you don’t like smoking, don’t smoke, and don’t make it a point to join these guys while they’re having a good time drinking and smoking. And shut up. The appropriate response to the self-righteous anti-smoking and drinking judgementalism I just read is “hunh?????” Good grief, do you think anyone cares about your opinion? No, I don’t smoke.

  41. James Joseph says:

    Dear Father K.

    For the normal man, prayer is in the morning. And then, more prayer arrives after the drinking. A man with a clean heart and a Rosary in his pocket is kept innocent in his inebriation. The lusty women try but they are easily thwarted by Our Lady.

  42. Cathy says:

    Isn’t it a little more than odd that you can be in a group of people sharing horrifying tales of what they did over the weekend and consider you judgmental for seeing something wrong with it, yet, people gasp when you excuse yourself to have a smoke? I really wish smoking, having a beer and clogging the arteries were the only problems faced by our society. Having a SMOKE and stinking seems to be more important than the topic chosen to be addressed, the marriage amendment. I pray that these men gather the fortitude and courage during this event to defend marriage against a culture that would destroy it altogether by making a mockery of it. God bless them!

  43. John Nolan says:

    The anti-smoking fascists in Germany recently tried to ban incense on ‘elf ‘n safety grounds. Thirty-odd years ago I had the misfortune to encounter at a dinner party a girl who said she refused to stand for the incensation because “I’m not an incense person”. My suggestion that she might be more at home in a protestant denomination was not well received.

  44. Nicole says:

    I have no problem with the consumption of alcohol in moderation. There’s nothing against nature about that. But, smoking is against nature…and it is a serious moral issue. I know that men don’t like the FLFF, but if men were really doing something good, praiseworthy and edifying by smoking, why would they justify their behaviour?

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