“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Go to Nightclubs?”

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Q: Is it OK for Catholics to go out clubbing, as long as they don’t get drunk or indulge in promiscuous behavior? – T.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good that you are at least raising this question. More people would benefit from reflecting a bit on whether visiting and socializing at nightclubs is a healthy way to mingle with others.

That said, it is impossible to give a simple answer, since there are so many factors involved in a particular decision to go to a nightclub.

Among the factors to be weighed: the club itself (does it have a notorious reputation?); the overall ambience (is the music and attire risqué?); the style of clothes you will wear (modest?); the expense (is the money best used elsewhere?); and the frequency of attendance (is this a weekly thing, or a once-in-a-lifetime event?).

There are other moral issues to be considered. Though you intend to avoid excess drinking, would your presence be interpreted as condoning drunkenness in other people? What would “clubbing” say about your own values?

As a woman you would also want to be attentive to personal safety.

You might avoid drunkenness, but the young men around you might have less success. For them, the nightclub blend of wine, women and song can easily become combustible. The pleasant club you enter at 8 p.m. can take on a ferocious tinge by midnight.

So, it might be good to step back and consider the bigger picture of your life.

You might want to consider whether you can cultivate good friendships in venues that are prone to bringing out the seedier side of people.

Ideally you want to cultivate friendships with people who will help you to grow in your faith and to use your gifts to give glory to God.

Healthier alternatives to a nightclub might include a modest party with good friends and a simple buffet and a classic movie in the DVD player; or a trip to a museum followed by a dinner at a modest restaurant.

As friends of friends tag along occasionally, your social network can expand and be enriched. Along the way you can help to build a little Christian community of sorts.

Perhaps some of this is worth taking to prayer.


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  1. WELL PUT, Father.

    There’s other ways of socializing. There are ‘dances’ held in community organizations or restaurants (not clubs) that have dining and dancing. Community organizations: the Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, a Golf Club where there is dining, music, and dance floor. Church socials with others with a general good understanding that a good time means the modesty of dress, respectful behavior (and yes, of various age groups) CLUBS with the lights blazing or ‘darkness’ and smoke filled and music that brings head to hurt and injure the eardrums (so talking is impossible) doesn’t sound like a ‘fun’ time to me.

    Entertainment: well, the Hollywood movies need to be carefully considered. But yes, a ‘CLASSIC’ movie night with couples of one’s own age and light refreshments can be fun. If books are one’s thing, join or start a book discussion club (everyone reading same book and giving thought to it with light refreshments. OR have fun with an adult education class: learn flower arranging, ceramics, oil painting, or illustrating. OR learn something new for one’s job occupation) Friendships form with mutual spirits who like the same GOOD things to keep mind and hands busy. TRY BOWLING once a week in a league (mixed or men only if man
    women if woman) Night out with the guys for men and with ladies if woman.)

    Father is correct, if looking to find someone who ‘likes to drink’ … don’t be surprised if in a relationship one
    fines someone ‘addicted’ to alcohol or … brrrr drugs. Better use of time and money is to buy subscription tickets to a community theater, then to a NICE restaurant for NICE ‘gourmet’ dining ONCE A MONTH. (a little ‘TREAT’ from the monthly good responsible actions)

    PRUDENCE is a cardinal virtue and raises one up, from the ‘ways of the fleshly world.’

  2. Becoming ‘adult’ is more than just having a car and license to drive, going to a job for a paycheck, and then
    PARTY HEARTY every weekend, til Monday a.m. / bad habit to start. Adult means WORK. If single and mom and dad or just one parent has a home, why go and pay rent to live alone? or (ahem). Live with the parents
    when singe AND ADULT. Help with the paying of household expenses (or some of them) God will bless in ways you can’t imagine. Learn what ‘earning a living’ is about: paying the utilities, the groceries, the dental and eye checkups, and SAVING, oh yes and tithe … to the church and ‘one’ charity that means something (or more if one can give to more than one) God will BLESS in ways the mind can’t fathom all through life.

    Fun? sure. Join a bowling league at work or in community, volunteer in the church in some way (great way to meet PERHAPS that significant other ‘soul mate’) Take continuing education classes in ‘fun’ learning as stated above. OH THE YEARS WILL ZOOM BY. If one is meant to be married, God will bring it to be… HIS WAY.
    IF NOT, then accept single as single is meant and ENJOY family (nieces nephews CERTAIN neighbors,
    aunts, and uncles and parents and grandparents and ONE good GOD GIVEN friend… who is also a friend
    of SPIRIT.

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