Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash.

Catholics are, um, not always known for their temperance. According to stereotypes (based in truth), we tend to lean a bit on the lush side of life.

Mormons, on the other hand, are known for their temperance – practicing members of the religion do not imbibe alcohol per precepts of Mormon scripture.

These beliefs are reflected in the laws of Utah, which boasts a majority-Mormon population and some of the strictest alcohol laws in the land.


Given these tendencies, it’s perhaps not all that surprising that a Catholic Church found itself on the wrong side of the liquor laws of Utah this week.

On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (DABC) voted to fine a Catholic parish in Draper, Utah, a suburb on the southern side of Salt Lake City.

The church, St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish, was accused of violating liquor laws in May during a fundraiser festival, at which the parish permitted volunteers to drink alcohol while serving others. The offense constituted a breach of state liquor laws typically aimed at servers in bars and restaurants.

“It appears some of the volunteers had a little alcohol while serving — while they were volunteering — which is against state law,” DABC spokesman Terry Wood told local news channel KSTU.

The church was fined $600 for the violation.

Fr. Richard Sherman, pastor of the parish, told KSTU that he considered the fine a “blessing” and a good warning to be more vigilant about how alcohol was served at future events.

The infraction will not impact the parish’s ability to serve alcohol at future festivities, nor its liquor license for communion wine.