Pope Says Nope To Dope

With the legal sale of recreational cannabis going into effect last week in Colorado, CNN has released a new poll which shows that only 35% of the population believes toking up is morally wrong and a clear majority supports legalization.  Unlike other hot-button social issues that are more evenly divided, faithful Catholics are decidedly in the minority here. With our faith under attack in so many other ways, we may be tempted to let this issue slide, but this would be a grave mistake.



Last summer, Pope Francis spoke plainly about the dangers of liberalizing drug policy saying, “The scourge of drug-trafficking, that favours violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage.” As Catholics, we are called to help the poor and the weak. What good does it do to volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate old clothes if we simultaneously support policies that feed into addictions that are so often at the root of homelessness in the first place?

As Pope Francis is at pains to reiterate at every opportunity, the moral law follows from our concern for our fellow man. When the Catechism states, “The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life,” this is not merely some prudish moralizing. Such proscriptions are motivated by our love for our neighbors and our desire to improve the human condition in real and concrete ways instead of dulling our perception to misery and suffering.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Patron Saint of Drug Addicts

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Patron Saint of Drug Addicts

Marijuana, like any drug, alters the mind. It produces a numbing and euphoric effect that is far more potent than alcohol or tobacco. In this altered state of mind, anyone who uses cannabis is shutting out the world and retreating into the self. This self-absorption is the root of all sin and the is exactly the opposite of our calling as disciples of Christ. We are meant to go out into the world and to live and proclaim the Gospel, not to pass out under a cloud of THC and a mound of crumbled Doritos.

The only altered state of mind that can bring true happiness is to succumb to the all-powerful embrace of God’s love. When we perform an act of charity or unite our voice with the saints in prayer, we are actively changing the world for the better. Instead of sowing pot seeds, we must sow hope and compassion not only in our own hearts, but in the hearts of others, especially the most vulnerable. To borrow from Nancy Reagan: “just say no” to drugs and just say yes to God.

  • Vee

    Josh, isn’t Francis saying that who primarily sells pot now would still be selling it if it was legalized. Crime would still be profiting on the miseries of users. Alex, I’d question who the data source is in the Portugees. Why are your eyes blocked out?

  • Monica Pope

    I don’t smoke pot so I have nothing but clarity at stake here. I have also prayed, most fervently (and to blessed success,) to St Maximilian Kolbe for people I sincerely love to be released from ferocious drug addictions.

    AND I am a very faithful Catholic who happens to NOT be in your ‘faithful Catholic’ minority. here’s why:

    the practice of some Country John growing a few pot plants in his basement for the purpose of smoking it, does not, in ANY way, meet this description: “The scourge of drug-trafficking, that favours violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage.”

    Not in any way.

    The Holy Father comes from South America where drug cartels and occult practices and organized crime all converge to make the already-horrendous drug trafficking a vicious, brutal, deadly industry. The poison that is smuggled across our borders kills people– sometimes on their first go-round.

    Mr Bowman, you’re putting words in the Holy Father’s mouth. He didn’t say what you say he said.

  • Blonde Surfer Px

    I am a devout Catholic. And there seems to be a grey area in this article. With the citation of the quote from what Papa said, he made it a little vague so to stay away from some backlash.
    The whole statement of tobacco not inducing the same effects from Mary Jane is true, buy alcohol is completely different. It can make you belligerent and do stuff like jump from roof top to roof top or start a fight cause a gut looked at you weird because you are smashed. If you smoke a bunch of Mary j, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But then you have to bring in the tolerance the person has developed and the two types sativa and indica both having different effects depending on what you need for a symptom or what not.
    Alcohol destroys your liver and you can get alcohol poisoning and be administered to the hospital.
    Smoking a bunch of Mary j will make you lazy, as does drinking a whole lot requiring you to use it as a vice going both ways here.
    I see marijuana an extemely less harmful drug towards the drug alcohol. And let’s be honest with what the pope said you shouldn’t invest in alcohol either.
    Now for smoking factory made tobacco like camels and Marlboros is more dangerous than marijuana. Cos in a single cigarette you are smoking 2000 plus chemicals.
    The person who wrote this arrival had the right intention but didn’t do a whole lot of research.
    You don’t just see homeless people on the street because they smoked mj there whole life and that what it has succumbed to. You see homeless people because of divorce, bankruptcy, gambling, alcoholism, schizophrenia, alcoholism, etc.
    I’m not impressed by this article. And in my opinion all should be done in moderation. It’s been around since the dawn of time. And of course some of you will bring up poppy, extacy, and what not. There is a grey area and we won’t fully know until it has been fully executed in writing and word of tounge from the pope himself.

  • Jack Lavelle

    What does it say when there is a family sitting around in a squalid apartment, late on the rent, no heat because the power’s been shut off, yet someone keeps rolling joints?

  • Sheesh

    Decriminalization and an end to the hopelessly expensive, impotent, failed “War on Drugs” will lead to greater peace, as the Pope has called for. Nearly every social scientist can corroborate this fact. Rush Limbaugh, being a known prescription drug addict, would disagree, of course. This article, like most on this “Catholic” site, take the Pope’s words and twist them to suit a right-wing agenda. Move along…

  • Constance

    What so many people fail to understand is that this is the United States, not another country. We live under different conditions than other places. I will stand firm on the conviction that this country is going down the drain. We are supposed to be the leaders not the followers.



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