Temperance Catechism and Manual of the Total Abstinence League of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For the Use of Colleges, Schools and Educational Establishments.
This is an inexpensive Catholic temperance publication presented as a catechism of ninety-two questions and answers. The author, James Aloysius Cullen (1841–1921), was a Jesuit priest who founded the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart in 1898. The original text, called the Catechism of Temperance, first appeared in 1892. The Temperance Catechism is broken into two parts: the ‘Elementary Temperance Catechism’ and ‘Advanced Catechism and Manual’. There is a contents list which in fact functions as an index, linking subjects to relevant page numbers. This subject list gives a clear indication of both the contents and the tone of the text: ‘Alcohol, Appalling Expenditure on’; ‘Drink-delusion’; ‘Alcoholism-Drunkenness-Scripture Condemnation of’. The text argues in favour of abstinence and as such even moderate drinking is criticised. Arguments in favour of alcohol – that it provides nourishment and warms the body and that the industry provides extensive employment and large wages – are undermined and medical opinion is cited to bolster arguments. The work of the Pioneer Total Abstinence League of the Sacred Heart (the ‘Pioneers’) is highlighted and explained. Here it is noted that children sometimes fall into habits of intoxication and can take the pledge for a lesser period, until their twenty-first or twenty-fifth year. Cullen’s concern with the deleterious social impact of alcoholism is evident: ‘Everywhere are seen individuals with the brightest prospects destroyed, families wrecked, society undermined, and the national prosperity seriously endangered’ (41). Elsewhere, his social conscience and belief that much poverty was linked to excessive drinking are reflected. If alcohol could cause poverty, the reverse was also true and the argument that men are driven to drink from the squalor of their homes is made. Here he notes that ‘Nearly all the Convents, Religious, and Primary Schools in Ireland now teach girls how to cook, housekeep, make and mend clothes, sew, knit, etc, etc., and it is to ne hoped that such instruction will gradually educate the young to practise economy in their homes, and to put by some portion of their earnings in the Savings’ bank, or other similar institutions’ (41). Despite this concern with poverty and class, another question and answer notes that intemperance affects every position of life and the lamentable rise of the habit of excessive drinking amongst females of all classes is singled out for attention. Excess of alcohol is seen to be particularly bad in the English-speaking world, while intemperance is also impeding the spread of ‘Christian civilization’ in Africa and Asia by corrupting the native ‘heathen’ (47). Two final sections cover the operation of the Pioneer Association and the ‘Indulgences granted by Pope Pius X. and Our Holy Father Pius XI. To the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart’. The paper covers contain a ‘Summary of the Object and Principal Rules of the “Pioneer” Association.
Rev. J.A. Cullen, S.J.
8th Edition. 400th Thousand.
Place of Publication:
Office of the “Irish Messenger”
Date of Publication:
Copy Specific Notes:
Damaged: cover torn.
Temperance, Total Abstinence, Alcohol, Catholicism, Religion, Ireland, Pioneer Association
Schoolbook Collection - SPD