Pope Francis slams ‘liberalization of drug use,’ as Catholic Trudeau campaigns to legalize pot

Pope Francis called drug-trafficking a “scourge” that “favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death.”
Thu Jul 25, 2013 - 4:28 pm EST

KELOWNA, B.C., July 25, 2013 ( – While self-proclaimed practicing Catholic Justin Trudeau publicly called for the legalization of marijuana this week, in another hemisphere Pope Francis took an a unequivocal stand against the “liberalization of drug use.”

Liberal Party Leader Trudeau told fans and supporters in Kelowna, B.C., on Tuesday that legalizing pot was “one of the only ways to keep it out of the hands of our kids.”

“I’m actually not in favour of decriminalizing cannabis. I’m in favour of legalizing it,” he said. “Tax it, regulate [it]."


Pope Francis, however, believes that legalization would cause the drug problems that already ravage the lives of young people to multiply exponentially.

“A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use, as is currently being proposed in various parts of Latin America,” he said on Wednesday during a visit to Rio de Janeiro’s St. Francis of Assisi Hospital.

Speaking with addicts about the effects of "chemical dependency," Pope Francis called drug-trafficking a “scourge” that “favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death.”

The drug problem, he said, “requires of society as a whole an act of courage."

Instead of legalizing drugs to solve social problems, as Trudeau would have it, the Pontiff called for head-on confrontation with the underlying problems of drug use and addiction, such as "educating young people in the values that build up life in society." 

Although Trudeau describes himself — as did his father Pierre — as a Catholic in his private life, he is unapologetic about his public promotion of social issues opposed by the teaching of the Catholic Church, including abortion and homosexual "marriage."

When Trudeau received flak in 2011 for his opposition to key teachings of the Catholic faith, he responded that he was “surprisingly upset” that someone would question his faith and accuse him of being a “bad Catholic.”

“My own personal faith is an extremely important part of who I am and the values that I try to lead with,” he told the Canadian Press at that time.

Yet in a 2009 interview with the CBC, Trudeau admitted how divergent his views are from Catholic teaching. “As a politician I have political positions on gay marriage and on abortion that don’t at all resemble those of the Catholic Church,” he said.

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes no reference to any particular drug, it states that the use of drugs “except on strictly therapeutic grounds” is a “grave offense,” since their use “inflicts very grave damage on human health and life.”

In November, Trudeau told students at a Prince Edward Island high school that he was a “huge fan of decriminalization” of pot, reported the Charlottetown Guardian.

“We have to be mindful of the message that we’re sending, about what’s OK and what’s not OK, because we’re trying to get people to live healthier lives,” he told students.

Opponents of drug legalization say that course would lead to a dramatic decrease in the health and vitality of young people.

Naturopathic doctor and independent researcher Terry Vanderheyden, ND, told that legalizing marijuana would be “totally disastrous” for Canadian youth.

“Studies have proven unequivocally that marijuana increases rates of mental illness. Some, in fact, have shown this increase to be as high as 200 percent," he said. "The younger one starts the drug, the greater the likelihood of irreversible harm."

“Legalizing marijuana would give tacit approval to a substance that would trigger an even greater mental health burden for unsuspecting Canadian youth," Vanderheyden said. "Such a proposal betrays an indiscriminate and vapid naivety that makes one wonder, indeed, what Justin Trudeau has been smoking.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) located in Maryland makes the case that marijuana negatively effects its users.

“Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person's existing problems worse,” the organization states on its online “drug facts” page.

According to the NIDA, heavy marijuana users generally report “lower life satisfaction, poorer mental and physical health, relationship problems, and less academic and career success compared to their peers who came from similar backgrounds."

Research compiled by the NIDA indicates that chronic use of the drug adversely impacts learning and memory, even after the acute effects of the drug wear off.

States the NIDA: “Research from different areas is converging on the fact that regular marijuana use by young people can have long-lasting negative impact on the structure and function of their brains.”

Regarding therapeutic uses for the drug, NIDA states that clinical trials have not shown that “marijuana’s benefits outweigh its health risks.”

While the Liberal Party of Canada decided at its convention last year to include marijuana as a significant piece of its rebuilding process, Trudeau’s comments in Kelowna appear to take his party’s policy even further.

The resolution, put forward by the British Columbia Young Liberals of Canada and passed by 77 percent of delegates, called upon an elected Liberal government to “legalize marijuana and ensure the regulation and taxation of its production, distribution, and use, while enacting strict penalties for illegal trafficking, illegal importation and exportation, and impaired driving.”

  drugs, justin trudeau, pope francis

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