Issues of Special Importance

On this page, I will be examining both topical issues in Catholicism (the news of the day, so to speak) and long-running themes and debates (some of which go back two centuries, if not more!).

As always, feel free to chime in with your questions, comments, and angry retorts! This is meant to be a journey of discovery and refinement of ideas rather than a soapbox.

There has always been some controversy regarding legal actions that result in financial gain, even when an injured party is making the claim. In Louisiana, a hub for offshore oil exploration, there are many examples of workers injured on vessels or rigs due to lax company safety. We spoke with one of the best local Lafayette maritime lawyers in town regarding how his profession is viewed by the church. He at first was hesitant to talk openly, but when his brother was injured on a rig support vessel, he spoke up loud and clear. “Do you think the church would object to a victim being able to receive appropriate medical care? Or should he just suffer because the money is tainted? It’s ridiculous to pass judgment without consideration of the injured party!” Maritime lawyers may be looked down upon by some in high church offices, but the perform a needed service, and abuse of their efforts is not something that happens very often.

Medical marijuana laws have passed in more than 20 states in the US and a number of states are discussing their own medical marijuana legislation. Where does the Church stand on medical marijuana? As posted by the  Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 2291)….”The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct cooperation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.”  However, Catholic health care ethicists do acknowledge that  medical marijuana has potential merits and pitfalls. One of their concerns is that political and medical considerations aren’t being consistently managed from state to state as medical cannabis legalization spreads. Since marijuana has shown to be effective therapy for persons with a number of conditions such as certain types of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, end-of-life diseases in which the person suffers from a lack of appetite, some Catholic health care ethicists find medical cannabis as possibly “acceptable.”

Jesuit Father Peter Clark, director of the Institute of Catholic Bioethics writes on medical marijuana cases where such treatment is considered useful. He believes the real debate is about the political ramifications of legalization and implementation of the varying state laws. On some Catholic forums that discuss the pros and cons of medical marijuana as edibles, questions constantly are asked if it’s ok to eat marijuana edibles, if it is for medical reasons? Some would answer that cannabis a a plant that God created, probably on the 6th day. If He created it, there must be a purpose for it. After all, some would claim it is a miracle plant that has literally thousands of uses. Perhaps God truly gave us cannabis as a gift to provide for so many of our needs. If you do plan to eat marijuana edibles, make sure that children do not has access to them. A young child is not going to know if a cookie, lollipop, or soda left laying around is cannabis infused or not.

We at not done going over the topic yet. As a matter of fact some of the most interesting and important information is to follow on the pages that are still to come.

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