So maybe it wasn’t just an Irish joke…
Catholic priests in Ireland complained last year that tougher laws on drinking and driving meant they would easily go over the limit just by saying mass a few times in one day. Priests in rural areas often drive to several villages every Sunday to say mass, during which drinking a small quantity of wine is an essential part of the ritual.
Bloggers naturally had a field day with this one. “Eucharist could mean ‘water into fine‘,” one wrote. “No more ‘one for the road‘ for Irish priests,” said another. A third asked if drinking was part of a priest’s job description. “Only here in Ireland and only with the Roman Catholic Church could such a story arise,” one concluded.
Well, apparently not…
Our Budapest bureau reports that “Hungary’s Catholic Church has asked the country’s justice minister to exempt its priests from a new regulation which severely punishes drink-driving. Under a ‘zero tolerance’ rule which took effect this month, police can confiscate a driver’s license on the spot if the breathalyser shows any trace of alcohol.
The church plans to issue special cards for its priests to show that they consume alcohol in the fulfilment of official duties.”
Here’s our video report from Hungary: