Pope Francis took the opportunity to speak out against the legalization of drugs while on a landmark trip to Brazil in July. During Francis’ first trip to back to South America, where he is from, the Pope urged regional leaders to take a firm stance against drug legalization plans in Latin America.
Pope Francis denounced the illegal drug trade as well, condemning drug dealers and drug traffickers.
“How many dealers of death there are that follow the logic of money and power at any cost! The scourge of drug trafficking, that favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage,” he said. He also urged people to overcome the roots of the drug epidemic while on the third day of his visit. “It is necessary to tackle the problems which are at the root of drug abuse, promoting more justice, educating the youth with the values that live in society, standing by those who face hardships and giving them hope for the future”
The 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church argued essentially that 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.” Francis was likely referring to Guatemala’s president, who has proposed that Central and South American leaders consider the legalization of drugs, as well the proposed legislation calling for the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay..
Other former leaders of Latin American countries including ex-presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Columbia all support the legalization of drugs. I wonder if such leaders, including former Mexican President Vicente Fox, will take the pope’s decree seriously and change their stances. If they don’t, they will not only risk compromising their faith and good stance in the Catholic church, but also political support.
The pope met with drug addicts while in Sao Paulo and attended the inauguration of a rehab unit hospital at a Rio de Janiero hospital run by Franciscan monks. Franciscans are Catholic monks, an order that is in good standing with the church and have been adept in integrating recovery from drug and alcohol abuse with spiritual principles.
The Catholic Church is world-renowned in its advocacy for social justice, sponsoring endeavors such as hospitals and addiction recovery centers. A well-known group of addiction recovery centers in Minnesota is sponsored by Catholics, as are many other charitable drug rehabilitation centers around the world. These centers are run by Catholic clergy and most offer either free or affordable treatment. They also offer dual diagnosis treatment for those that suffer from a mental illness in conjunction with their addiction. Most of these organizations are non-profit.
I hope that the Pope’s words will be heeded. While it seem like a given for most people, there are large sectors of society that promote the legalization of drugs.
Filed under: Addiction, Alcohol and Drugs, Latest News, Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: addict, Addiction, alcohol, Alcohol and Drugs, Brazil, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Central America, drugs, Legalization, legalization of drugs, Pope, Pope Francis, religion, Sao Paulo, South America, Vicente Fox