Monday, April 15, 2024

Is The Catholic Church Adjusting Its Marijuana Stance

The fact that the Catholic Church is receptive to medical marijuana should instill hope that their stance on recreational cannabis use could change over time.

The Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality assembly delved into two crucial themes recently: the accompaniment of LGBT individuals and the topic of a female diaconate. Additionally, the assembly discussed the structure of the Church, all with the aim of shaping a more updated future for the Church. As societal norms evolve, institutions like government and religion haven’t always been quick about catching up to the times. Often enough, traditional institutions like churches and government entities are among the very last to enact reforms based on societal changes.  

Women involved in the church has caused global discussions for their millions of followers. Communion after divorce is also on the table. But is the Catholic Church adjusting its marijuana stance? The answer might just surprise you.

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Photo by Patrick Fore via Unsplash

Medical Marijuana Use Is Not Condemned By the Catholic Church

Before recreational use became widely accepted, there were first efforts to prove its medicinal effects. In fact, medical marijuana use in the United States can be traced back to as early as the mid 19th century. Since that’s the case, it’s understandable that the Catholic Church has a fairly lenient stance towards using marijuana for medicinal purposes. Over the course of the last few years, some prominent church leaders have come out in vocal support of medical marijuana use. While the Catholic Church has come out in support of medical marijuana, the main caveat is that the substance is used for therapeutic purposes exclusively.

Recreational Marijuana Use Is a Different Story

Although the Catholic Church supports the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, their stance is clear that using marijuana for fun still falls under the category of drug use, which is a sin. Pope Francis reiterated this stance in a 2014 speech where he railed against the increasing amount of efforts to legalize recreational drugs like marijuana.

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The stance taken by the pope has been the common refrain used by the Catholic Church when it comes to the topic of recreational marijuana use ever since. Since many cannabis users see consuming marijuana in a similar light to alcohol consumption, the hardline stance against the substance doesn’t seem entirely fair.

Hypocrisy Of Allowing Alcohol Use While Condemning Marijuana 

“Any merely emotionally motivated choice to use some substance, including cannabis, is an abuse.” In other words, Father Ryan said, if a person is doing it without some good in view, and is simply seeking the altered state of consciousness as an end in itself, then that itself is unreasonable use.

Even though marijuana is strictly prohibited by the Catholic Church, alcohol doesn’t face the same restrictions. That fact is ironic considering the damage alcohol can do to individuals, families and communities. Drunk driving alone is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths per year in the United States which is more than can be attributed to legal cannabis. If cannabis can be banned by the Catholic Church because of any danger it presents, it seems as though alcohol should be prohibited, too. 

Will Their Stances Change Anytime Soon?

While their position is fairly hardline right now, the fact that the Catholic Church is receptive to medical marijuana should instill hope that their stance on recreational cannabis use could change over time.

RELATED: Mormon Marijuana Is No Template For The Future Of Weed

The reality is that medical marijuana is still a relatively new concept to many people, including to the decision makers within the Catholic Church. It’s likely fair to assume that as those decision makers get younger and grow up in a world where medical cannabis is more commonplace, that this could be the factor that contributes to attitudes about cannabis changing in the Catholic Church for good.


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