I’m wondering about your opinion on this sort of incident.

I’m 15. I live in California. California, much to my surprise, has some of the strictest drinking laws in the United States. Technically, I am not allowed to drink alcohol no matter what.

Yesterday I was at a family party and there was a toast. My mom was pouring champagne and she was like “Hey, you’re totally old enough, why don’t you have a small sip of champagne with the rest of us?”. At first I wasn’t going to, but then the point was brought up that a very small sip of champagne would get you about as much alcohol as a glass of fruit juice that was left in the fridge for slightly too long. So I went ahead and toasted with a small taste of champagne. I assure you I did not get drunk.

Would you call this event sinful? I honestly don’t get the feeling it is. Even my radical-traditional Catholic grandfather was cool with the idea. By the strictest of technicalities, it was illegal, but if you told a policemen “Excuse me, I must confess that I, a 15 year old, took a very small sip of champagne on private property with complete parental consent” he would laugh at you.

Quick google search shows that on private property in California you can be given alcohol on private property by a parent/guardian/spouse or the vague ‘‘responsible adult relative’’. No law was broken, no sin committed. You’re good.

In all honesty the drinking laws in the U.S make me cringe. You can get married and serve a tour of duty but you’re not allowed to toast your wedding or your victory? I know some states have different rules but by and large this rule seems ridiculous.

I would agree.

ISTM that these laws were intended to keep teenagers from drinking and driving. But it would make more sense to lower the drinking age to 18 (adulthood) AND raise the driving age to 18.


We should allow drinking with parents’ consent in the presence of them or an adult they designate as responsible, this facilitates proper drinking socialization in most cases.

On a related note, I recall that among various religious groups, the group with the lowest rate of alcoholism was Jews, and next came Catholics. The strict anti-alcohol Protestant groups tended to be highest.

One possible explanation: Jews, and to a lesser extent Catholics, learn to drink alcohol as children, in religious contexts (Seder, Eucharist) and at home–so they learn earlier how to avoid the excess that can lead to addiction.

Not a sin. Not anything to worry about. If this is illegal, then our Catholic faith would be illegal since 7 year olds partake in Communion.

As long as temperance is exercised, and the spirit of the law is followed sometimes the letter of the law is impractical and doesn’t cover all situations. Use judgement St. Paul even advises that " a little spirit is good for infirmity"

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