Those popes who bear the name, "Pius," are the greatest guardians of the Church against heresy. This blog is a watchdog for modernism in the Church. In reality, outside this blog, the members of the board temper their criticisms and opinions with prudence and charity so as to help souls in their journey towards Christ. But sometimes, for the sake of their own sanity, the authors of this blog just need to blow off some steam. The result is Totus Pius.

24 February 2007

Papal Beverage of Day I - Coffee

Thomas's comment has provoked us to remind the faithful they may offer thanks to the papacy for their mug of life-giving coffee every morning.

Coffee was first discovered in perhaps the 5th century in Ethiopia by, as legend tells, a goatherd, who noticed that whenever his goats ate of the berries of a particular plant they became strangely jumpy and energetic. Intrigued, the good goatherd took some of these berries to a wise abbot.* The abbot experimented with these strange fruits of the earth and discovered that their strength had the effect of giving the monks the energy to stay away late into the night in prayer.

For this good the abbot blessed the coffee plant.

Coffee remained in Africa and the Middle East for hundreds of years, as did many other things, after these regions fell to the domination of Islam. The Muslims, however, do take credit for discovering in the 15th century how to properly brew coffee from the beans rather than using the berries or leaves.

As trade with the Middle East increased as the Renaissance Period began, coffee finally made its way to Western Europe via Italy. There, where the good abbot of Ethiopia was long forgotten, the drink was scorned at the "devil's drink" because of its bitterness and Islamic connections. Debate raged through the Christian world until the matter was finally brought before good Pope Clement VIII in approximately 1594. Legend purports that the Holy Father declared that Satan's power was hardly a match for that of Christ's Church and therefore Christianity should reclaim this plant of creation.

And so it was.

The papal blessing was bestowed upon the plant, thus, in a way, absolving it of its dark past with the evil.

Since that time coffee has remained a vital part of Christian society, for which we are deeply grateful.

Let us remember the good Ethiopian abbot and his monks this Lent. Perhaps one night we may abstain from sleep by partaking of a fine mug of coffee, so that throughout the darkest hours we may keep vigil by praising God for the Passion of His Son.

*Ethiopian monasticism descended from that of Egypt which was begun by the Holy Desert Fathers.


Sanctus Belle said...

Coffee is indeed one of the greatest gifts God has given humankind. I completely lack the courage to give it up for Lent, far worse than corporal penance.

Kitchen Madonna said...

I love you people.
Kitchen Madonna

lina1886 said...


Now TEA, that's the ticket! Any papal blessings for Tea?

Papa Sanctus Pius V said...

Tea, my daughter? We do appreciate tea. But it will have to wait its turn.