The Roman Catholic Church in Boston made a massive donation on Friday towards efforts in opposition of legalizing marijuana. The Church is against passing Question 4 on the Massachusetts ballot, an initiative that would create a system in the state regulating legal, recreational marijuana.
The Boston Archdiocese gave $850,000, which is a 40% increase in the opposition’s funding. This is the second largest single donation. Another Catholic organization, the Knight of Columbus also donated $150,000 against the initiative.
So why the push back on making marijuana legal, which is framed as a “social-justice” issue by the pro-cannabis campaign?
The leader of Boston’s Archdiocese, Cardinal Sean O’Malley sees the use of this drug as harmful. He says it’s a “dangerous drug that causes people to have problems with memory [and] … reasoning” and that it is often a gateway drug to even more harmful drugs and doesn’t want Boston to “become a mecca, for people coming here as they do to Holland, Amsterdam, or … Colorado, looking for drugs.”
Pope Francis shares similar sentiments and has said that “attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called recreational drugs are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effect,” according to a Vatican diplomat.
The Boston Archdiocese is making a loud statement with this donation. Financially, the organization is struggling and lost $20.5 million in operating income from 2014 to 2015. So there are other areas where these funds could be put to good use.
However, an archdiocesan spokesman Terry Donilon wrote that the donation funds came from a “central ministry” fund, which are not funds that would usually go to parishes. This donation “reflects the fact that the archdiocese holds this matter as among the highest priorities,” wrote Donilon.
He also gave some reasons why this impacts the group and their services. He said the organization’s social services like counseling programs, addiction treatment and housing assistance will only have detrimental effects. “If Question 4 is approved, all of these programs and the people we serve will be negatively impacted,” wrote Donilon.
“The focus of the state of Massachusetts should be on helping people, not giving them easier access to the false hope inherent in drug use, which does not solve problems but compounds them,” wrote the Knights of Columbus in a statement to The Atlantic.
However, Boston isn’t the only state where the Church has to battle against the legalization of marijuana. Nearly half the states in the country already laws legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use. In Alaska, Colorado Washington state, and Oregon, recreational, as well as medical od marijuana, is already legal.
But, nine other states could be added to this list. Five of those could result in legal recreational use.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good for the Church in this battle against legal cannabis. But, the Church, as shown by Boston’s Archdiocese major donation, seems determined to not give up.
Editor’s note: I’m glad at least someone has the common sense to oppose this.