The use of cannabis for fun is "sinful behavior," say the bishops of British Columbia


A man holds a joint while celebrating the legalization of recreational cannabis in Vancouver on October 17, 2018.

Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press

Catholic bishops in British Columbia and Yukon endorsed the use of medical marijuana, but condemned recreational marijuana smoke as contrary to church teaching.

In a letter published online at the end of November, bishops – six from B.C. and one from Whitehorse – warns that "the mere fact that an activity is legally authorized by the government does not automatically mean that it is morally acceptable." Recreational cannabis became legal in Canada on October 17, one of Justin Trudeau's remarkable achievements. government.

But the letter of six bishops and the only bishop of Yukon distinguish between therapeutic uses, such as controlling pain and nausea, and asking for fun. In the first case, the letter says, the deficiency "may be accepted as a predicted but unintentional side effect of beneficial use of the drug." Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for nearly two decades.

"When there is no genuine medical need to use a drug and it is used only to cause drunkenness, it is a sinful behavior," say the bishops.

This is not the first time Catholic leaders in Canada have condemned the legalization of marijuana. In June, when the Bill C-45, Cannabis Law passed in Parliament, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in a letter, which was also endorsed by the president of the Canadian Council of Magnets, that legalization was "regrettable", and which would have "disastrous effects for so many people."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, a collection of doctrine, criticizes the use of drugs, except on "strictly therapeutic grounds," and says that drugs inflict "very serious harm to human health." The bishops, in their statement, suggest that Catholics "consciously engage in this behavior should discuss this with a priest in Confession."

In explaining his reasoning, the letter says that people under influence can choose to do things they would not do while they were sober. He also argues that there are health effects and that some may become dependent on cannabis. In addition, the bishops say that marijuana "artificially alters consciousness … which can be a way to avoid challenges we face in our lives."

"This kind of psychological pain must be relieved by legitimate means," they conclude.

Pope Francis, who won a certain preference in liberal lodgings for the occasional progressive pronouncement – he wanted to revisit the ban on remarried Catholics who received the Eucharist, for example – said in a speech to leaders of global anti-drug agencies in 2014 that "attempts however, to legalize so-called "recreational drugs", they are not only highly questionable from the legislative point of view, but also do not produce the desired effects.

"Let me say this in the clearest possible terms: The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs. Drug dependence is an evil and, with evil, there can be no concessions or concessions, "he said.

The Post extended a hand to all the offices of all the signatories; two of them were unavailable and five did not respond to the interview request.

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