Frank Duff, wearing his PTAA pin

This subject is dear to my heart. I have been wanting, for some time, to tell you of an Association we belong to in our home. It is called the PTAA, the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. It is a Catholic, Dublin, Ireland-based Association and one of the first members was Frank Duff (pictured above) who founded the Legion of Mary (and is now a Venerable.)

In the following excerpt, Fr. Lord laments the fact that the pledge is no longer in use….well….it is! Through this association, you can make the pledge to abstain for alcohol until you are 21, or for a temporary time (say, a year) or you can become a “life-er”, which is what my husband and I are.

We wear a pin (hubby’s lousy at this…he loses it…so do I), and say a prayer twice a day offering our abstinence for those who suffer from intemperance.

Our daughters have taken the pledge for a time. Margy did it for a 3 year period, Rosie has done it for a year and then renewed. They say a different prayer and wear a different pin than our “Life-er” pin. It is great for the young people to be involved in seeing the dangers of alcohol…and doing something about it!

So many people suffer from the ravages of alcohol. No, of course, alcohol is not evil, and if used in moderation, it is a gift. (And our kids understand this, too).

But…so often we see those who can’t (or choose not to) do the moderation thing.

Alcoholism touches so many of us. It is not prejudiced….it ruins lives among the poor and rich, among both men and women, the lower class and the elite, Catholics and Protestants, etc….

So, if you want to check out this Association and make the pledge….go for it! It can be such a valuable mortification! It is there for those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism and for those wishing to make this sacrifice to help those who suffer from it!  Click here for more info: PTAA

And now here is Father Daniel A. Lord from Questions People Ask About Their Children…..

How do these modern children pick up drinking habits?

From the drinking habits of adults. Children are naturally imitative. They ape anything they see or hear. They learn to speak by mouthing the sounds they hear around them. Their first educational processes in school and out of school are through imitation.

Before they know what faith means, they imitate the religious practices of their parents; they make a funny little motion with their hands that is somehow their reproduction of the sign of the cross.

It happens that today adults are doing a lot of plain and fancy drinking. If the children see pleasant drinking in the family, wine or beer served in moderation at meals, the cocktail an additional luxury of greater moment, they stand a fine chance of associating it with normal, wholesome family living. They may learn to drink without acquiring bad drinking habits.

If mother and father are known never to drink, and if early their parents tell them why they do not drink, the children may follow their ways.

The reasons for total abstinence can well be good and can readily be made appealing: the thirst of Christ, the dangers of drinking, the better fun that a young person can have without drinking, the ugliness of the drunkard, self-control, the bodily strength and athletic skill of nondrinkers, the desire to bring one’s body and soul to full and unimpeded development.

Right now, however, the child is constantly stimulated to imitate his drinking elders. Hardly a motion picture is shown in which the leading man and leading woman aren’t taking a drink. In some of the recent pictures almost continuous drinking by everyone marks the development of the film.

And in some pictures that most repulsive of humans, the drunk, is treated as if he were a delightfully pleasant, charming eccentric.

The children in their room upstairs or adjacent to the living room hear their parents and the guests getting high, tight, and maudlin—or quarrelsome and stupid. What is the effect?

First fear, then revulsion, then angry protest, then an accustomed acquiescence, then more than a suspicion that drinking must be fun or accompanies fun, then the desire to be grown-up and adult too—then the sampling of the drink . . . and the start of the drinking habits of “these modern children.”

We American Catholics made a great mistake when we allowed the total-abstinence pledge to be dropped–to disappear, in fact, from the safeguards of youth. Once that pledge was part of the ritual that surrounded first Holy Communion. All children were expected to take the pledge until the age of twenty-one. It was a great idea.

But it was killed by that unfortunate era known as prohibition. In our desire to protest against the thing we called morality by law, we endangered morality by habit, example, and free choice.

I sincerely wish that that pledge could be restored.

But even the pledge will not save the younger generation so long as the older generation sets the current example of substituting drinking for practically every form of social life….so long as children see drink thrust at them from the screen, the newsstands, and the practices of slightly older boys and girls.

This young father drinks beer continuously in the presence of his four young children. Will the children grow up to be drunkards?

Even should I peer with concentrated attention into the father’s most recent glass of beer, I could not clearly see the future.

I happened to know however a certain father who was always just a little bit sodden. He would have raged at you had you suggested that he ever got drunk. He took only a few drinks during the course of the evening; that was all. He was never completely drunk.. ,but he was never completely sober.

With real pity I watched the reaction of this man’s children to him. His eldest daughter positively hated him. She was ashamed of him and disgusted with him. When she brought home some of her young friends, he was likely to be a little maudlin and not quite clear in his speech. He tended to paw and be silly or sentimental.

His only son thoroughly despised him and regarded him as a sot. The youngster hated drink in all forms and didn’t touch a drop—as long as I knew him, which was into his early manhood.

His second daughter was simply sorry for his wife, her mother. She avoided him when she could and concentrated her love and thought on the mother. When he spoke to his children, they faced him with baleful eyes. His influence was not as bad… because it was nil. Those children were, as a they were concerned, fatherless.

I think I felt sorrier for him than I did for his children.

One who, in order to please God, perseveres in prayer although he finds no consolation in it, but rather repugnance, gives Him a beautiful proof of true love. –Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, Divine Intimacy www.finerfem.com

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