The Pope Isn't As Open-Minded As You Think

Pope Francis has set the bar astronomically high for his successors.

For someone who's held the Holy See since March of 2013, he's sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church with his reforms. His track record includes softening the church's stance on homosexuality, making absolution for abortion easier to receive, recognizing The Big Bang Theory as well as evolution, and urging world leaders to combat climate change.

Aside from threatening to beat anyone who disses his mom, this pope seems like he's tolerant toward everything.

Except cannabis, that is. When it comes to legalization, Pope Francis's language is more fire and brimstone than open-mindedness and understanding.

In June of 2014, the pope made headlines by categorically denouncing the legalization of recreational drugs - including cannabis - in a speech made to the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

"Let me state this in the clearest terms possible," he declared, "the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!"

He referred to cannabis and other recreational drugs as a "scourge" that "continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders." So any argument surrounding the economic advantages of legalization will not sway His Holiness.

Indeed, he's sceptical that legalization would have any benefits: "Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called 'recreational drugs,'" he claimed, "are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects" in society.

But those views don't necessarily tarnish his image as a broad-minded pontiff. To him, legalization is not a progressive but a defeatist notion - a backhanded way of disguising giving in as moving forward. At the 2014 conference, he referred to legalization as "a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon [of the drug problem]."

His comments are consistent with his ongoing crusade against drug addiction, which dates back to his days of ministering to addicts in the slums of Buenos Aires. In the past, he has condemned illicit drugs in general as an "evil" and "the seeds of suffering and death." But his opposition appears rooted more in professional experience than scripture.

h/t Newsweek, Time, Huffington Post, CTV News, Al Jazeera America, The Guardian, BBC


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