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PopeWatch: Drugs

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Pope Francis last week came out strongly against the trend to legalize some recreational drugs:

 

 

“With evil, there can be no yielding or compromise,” said the Pope, condemning attempts to legalize so-called “recreational drugs.”  “To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics,” he said, “in no way resolves the problem.”  Substitute drugs, he affirmed, “are not an adequate therapy but rather a veiled means of surrendering to the problem…no to every type of drug use!”

He deplored the commerce “which transcends national and continental borders,” leading to the “inexorable” spread of drug use and applauded the work of anti-drug agencies to stop it.  The Pope encouraged them to effectively coordinate anti-narcotics policies and strategies aimed at fighting the drug trade.

To say “no” to drugs, Pope Francis pointed out, one has to say “yes” to life, love, others, education and greater job opportunities.  “If we say ‘yes’ to all these things,” he said, “there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.”

Go here to read the rest.  Just another element in the complex mosaic of Pope Francis that does not fit easily into the usual divisions of left and right of the popular media.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

15 Comments

  1. This is the pastoral papacy, saying what every priest should be saying, but on a global scale.

    I like the linking of alcohol and drugs very much.

  2. “I like the linking of alcohol and drugs very much.”

    Alcohol IS a drug. There is NO essential substantive difference between alcohol addiction and drug addiction.

    That said, not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes an alcoholic nor does everyone who smokes marijuana become a drug addict. One may well argue that just as alcohol is legal, so also should marijuana be made legal. But at what point – at what drug – does this process of legalization stop? What makes heroin or cocaine worse than alcohol or marijuana? For the alcoholic or drug addict the answer is nothing. A drink is a drug is a drink is a drug.

    However, I do not advocate a return to the prohibition of alcohol that existed as the law of the land in the early 20th century. But making marijuana legal has its downside and does little for the cause of freedom if anything. In fact, one may well argue that it enslaves the mind to the effects of another intoxicant.

  3. In Scotland, there have been some promising results from offering carefully selected (non-violent) offenders a DTTO [Drug Treatment & Testing Order] in lieu of prosecution. There is no reason in principle why this should not be extended to problem drinkers.
    As to the seriousness of the problem, of the 124 persons accused of homicide in 2011-12, 68% were reported to have been drunk and/or under the influence of drugs at the time; 58% were drunk, 4% were on drugs and 6% were both drunk and on drugs. For 21 of the persons accused in homicide cases, it was not known whether they were drunk or under the influence of drugs. One suspects many cases of assault (including domestic violence) would show a similar pattern.

  4. Matthew 35:31 and following refers as you know to the judgment of the nations:
    ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
    .

    It all seems so simple- if someone is hungry feed them etc. but that old devil gets in there and confuses the matter, saying, give them drugs to help them with their addiction.. The pope is right in saying we can Not compromise with evil. there are consequences for the choices people make and we can not really save them from their consequence.. We can try to be there for them. I am not sure what “creative love” means, but knowing that God is love and that we are all made in His image gives us hope.

  5. Anyway, what I was thinking about per the Judgment of the Nations” is that it seems we are responsible for how our nation deals with the problem of evil. We know how God dealt with the whole Israel because of the sin of one man, Achan (Joshua) and also with the children because of the iniquities of their fathers… We know that you can’t have a holy nation if you don’t have holy people. Holy people are in right relationship with God and thus with each other- which means loving forgiving helping along the way. Not every man for himself, but recognizing a certain corporate responsibility.

  6. Caffeine is a drug, I know a lot of people addicted to it. So is every pill you take, every vitamin, and extract. I was under the impression that the Church teaches that we should be moderate in all things. Too many strawberries will make you sick, too much booze will impair your judgment.

    Genesis 1:29-31 says that we should use every seed-bearing plant and that His creation is ‘very good’. Marijuana is a plant that has been around forever (God made it) – many cultures have used it including some really prominent American hero’s. Carl Sagan smoked as well as our 1st President – George even has a passage in that he describes the ‘weed good for rope and the weed good for smoke.’

    The Pope seems to be advising that additions don’t need to be yielded too – we should fill them with what the addicted really need, not what they currently want.

  7. There is a significant difference between the drug caffeine and the drug THC in marijuana. Those who want their addiction to marijuana to be justified, legalized and lauded would prefer to obfuscate or otherwise minimize that difference. Indeed, were a drug like caffeine in the same class as alcohol or marijuana, then AA and NA members have deceived themselves for a half century or more, and neither Bill Wilson nor Doctor Bob Smith were ever sober.
    .
    People who know nothing about astronautics should not talk about rocketry.
    .
    People who know nothing about nuclear energy should not talk about nuclear reactors.
    .
    And people who know nothing about drugs or addiction should likewise be silent on these subjects.

  8. “… Pope Francis pointed out, one has to say “yes” to life, love, others, education and greater job opportunities.”
    Having work to do is a blessing. Even volunteer work if the person has the initiative. The problem is even casual drug use seems to have a detrimental effect on initiative. Greater job opportunities are sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

  9. Steven wrote, “Genesis 1:29-31 says that we should use every seed-bearing plant and that His creation is ‘very good’…”
    One thinks of Belladonna, Foxglove, Hemlock, Henbane, Laburnum, Monkshood, to name but a few, none of which are recommended for human consumption, although some of them have medicinal uses. One recalls that Adam and Eve enjoyed the preternatural gifts of immortality and impassibility.

  10. Thank God the Pope made this statement. He is right on when it comes to this idiotic idea that we need to legalize pot.
    http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Yale-study-Marijuana-may-really-be-gateway-drug-3805532.php
    or
    http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/06/decree_from_on_high_lawmen_side_with_pope_francis_against
    As a prosecutor for 17 years, I saw young adult after young adult who said that they started with pot first…then meth or coke. Doesnt mean everyone who smokes goes to harder but the overwhelming balance of proof is that it is a mistake to take away the public condemnation of a drug. What’s next? Cocaine?….Meth??Then you can be like Ron Paul and legalize all of them. (Yesssss he said that in 2012!!) The problem of drug use is not solved with more drug use due to legalization !!!

  11. @Donald – perhaps it is a myth the GW smoked hemp. But according to Washington’s journals:
    May 12-13 1765: “Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.”
    August 7, 1765: “–began to seperate (sic) the Male from the Female Hemp at Do–rather too late.”
    Growers separate males from females so the plant does not go into seeding and keeps budding. The buds are the part people smoke. No, this does not definitively prove George smoked, but it does lead me to believe that he knew more then the conservative blog you posted.

    “no to every type of drug use!” – Pope

    @Paul – actually caffeine has some serious health side effects. http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/caffeine
    I identified caffeine as a drug to illustrate that ‘drugs’ are everywhere. Is the Pope arguing that we need to stop drinking coffee? Should we stop taking medications? NO – the point he was making was we should say no to excessiveness. The Church argues for moderation. As for your statement about rockets, nuclear energy, and addition please see the following: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/personal-incredulity
    One doesn’t need to experience addition to have empathy – I’ve been to plenty of AA meetings myself so in this case I may be able to symptomize with you. That line of logic would lead people to never discuss anything they weren’t experts in…how would we progress as individuals if we never ponder?

    @Michael – forgive me, can you cite a single instance someone overdosed on weed? God never asked me to be ignorant of realities. If a plant kills, you should probably avoid it.

    @Dan – You have been prosecuting young adults/ruining their lives for 17 years and you never thought what you were doing was against human nature? Can you name me a society in history that doesn’t have a mind altering drug? Societies are built around drugs of choice. The law of man will never work if it is in contrary to human nature. No entity is without fallacy including the highest court in the United States – just ask Dred Scott.

  12. “@Donald – perhaps it is a myth the GW smoked hemp. But according to Washington’s journals:
    May 12-13 1765: “Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp.”
    August 7, 1765: “–began to seperate (sic) the Male from the Female Hemp at Do–rather too late.”
    Growers separate males from females so the plant does not go into seeding and keeps budding. The buds are the part people smoke. No, this does not definitively prove George smoked, but it does lead me to believe that he knew more then the conservative blog you posted.”

    Washington, like many planters of his day, was interested in hemp as a potential cash crop. He was disappointed in the results as hemp, other than for rope, had fairly limited commercial value in his day. There is no evidence that Washington ever attempted to smoke hemp. Washington did smoke his main cash crop as a youth, tobacco, but he regarded it as a vice and unhealthy and quit smoking before middle age.

  13. “hemp, other than for rope, had fairly limited commercial value in his day”

    The other main use was canvas, a ubiquitous fabric in various weights from sailcloth to canvas breeches. Canvas and cannabis are the same word, Fr canevas from Latin Cannabis. How’s that for a pub quiz question?

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