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West-Coast Catholic Bishops Reiterate REC Use is Sinful

Thursday, December 13th 2018
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BC and Yukon’s Catholic Bishops support the use of MED, but when it comes to REC they warned last week, “The mere fact that an activity is made legal by the government does not automatically mean that it is morally acceptable.” (National Post)

  • “When there is no genuine medical need for using a drug and it is used merely to cause inebriation, it is sinful behaviour,” they added. Cannabis “artificially alters consciousness […] which can be a way of avoiding challenges that we are facing in our lives. This kind of psychological pain ought to be alleviated by legitimate means.”
  • The Bishops said Catholics who use cannabis recreationally “should discuss this with a priest in Confession.”
  • In June, I noted a statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops stressing even if cannabis is legal, using it remains a sin, because “the virtue of temperance, as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 'disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco or medicine.” The Conference argued in 2017 that cannabis was “a gateway drug.”
  • In the Made For Glory video podcast, American Priest Father Michael Nixon asked Catholics to recognize “how important your freedom is—it is such a precious gift, and we don’t want to submit that gift to any substance. […] What truly makes us human is our rationality.” Father Nixon counsels prayer and reflection as an alternative to REC use.
  • On radio show Catholic Answers, senior apologist Jimmy Akin explained further, “When people use marijuana or alcohol or anything […] just for fun, they’re depriving themselves of the capacity for moral reason, and that’s something that in itself is sinful, because it puts you in the proximate occasion of committing sins, potentially even grave sins.”
  • Last year, Father Robert A. Sirico, founder of a free-market think-tank based on Catholic morality and former cannabis user, supports REC legalization. He argued that while cannabis “dulls the keenness of one’s mind […] smoking it once isn’t going to put you in a boat to China to some opium den. The harsh stereotypes of the thing, which are so absurd, really turn young people off, because you don’t know what you are talking about.” (CruxNow)