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Vatican Condemns Illegal Drugs - 2001-12-04

The Vatican has condemned the use of illegal drugs as "evil," declaring them "completely incompatible" with Christian morals. In a document on the subject of drugs, the Vatican states the Catholic Church's opposition to relaxing laws against drug abuse and urged states to combat drug cartels.

In a just-issued manual, the Vatican says the use of illegal drugs is "always illicit" because it involves the "renouncement of thought, will, and action as free individuals."

The manual, titled "Church, Drugs and Drug Addiction," is the result of five years of work and was presented in the Vatican. It makes clear that the Catholic Church is against the liberalization of all illegal drugs, including so-called soft drugs, such as marijuana.

The president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Pastoral of Health, Monsignor Javier Lozano Barragan, said the goal of the document was to provide guidance to church leaders in their pastoral work."

It recalls that Pope John Paul II has referred to drug addicts as "people on a journey" in search of something who run into "merchants of death".

Legalizing drugs, says the manual, "would represent an open door to complete liberalization, which would not lead to anything but the perpetuation of drug addiction." According to the manual, every "action that favors the spread or use of drugs represents serious moral complicity with cartels."

But the document says repression alone is insufficient to put a stop to illegal drug use. It calls for international cooperation at the political level, as well as between police forces.