Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Catholic Tastes

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Catholic Tastes

Article excerpt

BEER PENANCE From the St. Stephan Seminary Foundation to the Regensburg Diocese and many monasteries, Catholic institutions in southern Germany are continuing a hallowed tradition of beer brewing that started in the Middle Ages.

Lent is an especially busy time for the church-run breweries in Bavaria as they supply their popular, heavyweight bock beers. According to Catholic News Service (March 8, 1999), a legend that dates to the 1700s says "the pope was asked to grant German monks permission to brew and drink bock beer during times of fasting. A keg was sent over the Alps to the Vatican. But on the way, the beer was shaken up, warmed and cooled due to temperature changes. By the time it reached the pope weeks later, it was spoiled and tasted terrible. The pontiff then agreed if the German monks could drink the beer, as bad as it was, they could go ahead and brew it for the time of fasting."

ARE YOU RAPTURE READY? The fundamentalist belief in an imminent Rapture--when all born-again believers will suddenly fly up into the air to meet the Lord, while Catholics and other "apostates" and non-Christians will suffer and ultimately be slaughtered under the rule of the Antichrist--appears to gather steam. Not only has the Left Behind fiction series--with 3.5 million copies sold--become the "most successful Christian fiction series in history" (Christianity Today, March 1, 1999), some of the Web sites promoting various "premillennial, pretribulational" lunacies are reporting 50,000 "hits" a day.

On one of these sites (www.novia.net/~todd/rap2.html), you can now chart world events in a "Rapture Index." At press time, the index had tied the all-time record high of 174--meaning that we're in the "Alert Zone" (above 145). Recent harbingers of the Rapture include: "World Unrest: The Kosovo conflict has maxed out this category"--5 points; "Apostasy: In the Catholic Church there are some who are trying to elevate Mary to the status of co-redeemer"--5; "False Christs: Downgraded due to the lack of activity"--4; "Mark of the Beast: Some companies in Europe are trying out the new Euro currency"--5. …

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