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Obsessed with food.

We are a society obsessed with food. Overeating and obesity are, in fact, becoming an epidemic. "Fast food" joints and "all you can eat" restaurants with buffets and beverages are springing up all over the place. We see junk food dispensers in most of our schools. Everywhere we go we are bombarded with enticing ads encouraging us to eat and drink.

Gluttony is the abuse of that legitimate pleasure attached to eating and drinking, which are necessary means of self-preservation. It is the inordinate love of the pleasures of the table. The disorder lies in pursuing this satisfaction for its own sake, in considering it as an end in itself; or in pursuing a said delight to excess, at times even to the detriment of health, by disregarding the rules of sobriety.

There are four different ways in which we may violate these rules. 1) Eating when there is no need, eating between meals, and for no other reason than that of indulging our greed. 2) Seeking delicacies or daintily prepared meals, the more to enjoy their relish. 3) Going beyond either appetite or need, gorging oneself with food or drink with danger to health. 4) Eating with avidity, with greed, after the manner of certain animals. This fashion of eating is considered ill-mannered throughout the world.

The malice of gluttony comes from the fact that it makes the soul a slave to the body, it brutalises man, weakens his intellectual and moral life, and insensibly paves the way to voluptuous pleasure.

Gluttony is a serious sin when it goes to such length that for a notable space of time it incapacitates us from fulfilling our duties of state or prevents us from complying with laws. Such is the case when it injures our health, and causes useless expenditures that endanger the interest of our home and family life. It is also a grievous fault when it causes other grievous faults. Excess in eating or drinking may, for example, lead to various improprieties and indiscretions, to unchastity, to sins against justice and charity, to back-biting, to calumny, to slander.

Gluttony is a venial sin when one yields to the pleasure of eating and drinking in an immoderate manner, yet without falling into grave excess, and without exposing oneself to violate a grave precept. Such might be the case when one eats or drinks more than is proper to show one's appreciation for a fine meal or to please a friend.

Gluttony is a serious obstacle to perfection because it fosters a spirit of immortification, which weakens the will while it develops a love for sensual pleasure predisposing the soul to dangerous surrenders. Hence it is important that we combat this vice.

In order to remedy gluttony it is important to keep in mind the basic principle that pleasure is not an end but a means, and that it must, therefore, be subjected to right reason enlightened by faith. This means that the pleasure of eating and drinking must be sanctified by purity of intention, moderation and mortification.


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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Nov 6, 2012
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