During the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome where Pope Francis emerged as a speaker, he surprised constituents saying he was opposed to the legalization of drugs including marijuana for recreational use. He called addiction an “evil” which had to be resisted without any compromise. Francis believes narcotics, including marijuana, are putting more and more young people in danger. “The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders,” he said.
Francis worries about the youth
Pope’s remarks came just as the state of New York was preparing to pass measures that should lead to it becoming the 23rd U.S. state to allow medical use of marijuana. “Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs,’ are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects” the Pope said. According to the Radio of Vatican the Pope said that the Church, through “creative love” and its workers and volunteers, goes out to “meet those who have fallen into the trap of addiction, and helps them to rediscover their dignity and …inner strengths… that drug use had buried but can never obliterate.”
It’s all the same – or is it not?
This is all very humane and simple; however, the problem with this speech and ideas is that they are too simple. No addiction is the same and to compare marijuana with drugs such as heroin is not only childish, but highly irresponsible thing to say. Yes, addictions are society’s problem, but his speech implies that addicts should seek help from the organization he works for – the Church. Why not mentioning all other treatments and possibilities? Does this mean that atheist addicts will never cease to be addicts? Such an important figure should be held responsible for the words that come out of his mouth. And what about the medical use of marijuana? Numerous patients who have found help in medical marijuana are not using the plant to get “high”; they are using it because it makes their lives easier – because it’s the cure to their disease or condition. However, we read the Pope’s speech, and there was no mention of the word “medical” – perhaps he supports the medical use after all? Highly unlikely. Would it have cost him something to mention it and thus imply the difference?
Drug addiction is not evil
That’s right, it’s not evil. What is evil anyway? The proper thing to say would be – drug addiction is a problem. And problems are here to get solved. What can you do with evil? Certainly not solve it. You can be afraid because you have no idea what it means. We all have preconceived ideas about evil, starting with devil, then with murderers and so on. But not many of us can define evil. Is it the absence of good? And what is good? See Francis, things are not simple as you preach, nor as complicated as the concept of evil. Addiction is a problem, and if we speak of it as such, we might even find a solution to it.