Catholic churches fund anti-pot campaigns like crazy, but also really love alcohol

Catholic churches fund anti-pot campaigns like crazy, but also really love alcohol

VicesDecember 15, 2016 By Reilly Capps

It's a big week for Boston. Bay Staters can now legally smoke weed today for the first time in 105 years, after 54 percent of them voted to legalize marijuana in the past election.

It's unclear exactly what motivated voters to make the change, but, in general, people around the U.S. believe marijuana should be legal. Many believe it's less dangerous than alcohol. It was the slogan "Safer" that helped legalize marijuana in Colorado, after all.

But the ideal apparently hasn't filtered up to the really powerful people.

In Massachusetts, prominent politicians like Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh opposed marijuana legalization — even though both drink alcohol, and even though trolls on Facebook dared them to try pot.

In Boston, the message clearly hasn't made it to one of the most prominent authorities, the Catholic Church, either. It hates pot. The campaign against Question 4 (which legalized marijuana in Boston) was fueled by $850,000 in donations from the Archdiocese of Boston. That made the Archdiocese the largest donor to the group, by far. The next highest donation came from the Knights of Columbus, at $150,000. They're Catholic, too.

A lot of things about Catholics make perfect sense. For instance: the most important people wear the biggest hats. Fair enough. But other things make less sense. Like: why oppose marijuana, but not alcohol, when marijuana is safer?

After all, Catholics love alcohol. They have alcohol at church events. When journalists cover the Notre Dame football team, there's beer in the press box. Most importantly, they have alcohol at every mass, and they give it to children. So why is marijuana un-Christian, but alcohol is fine?

Terrence Donilon, spokesperson for the Boston Archdiocese, dodged my emails and phone calls for days. When he finally responded, he wouldn't address the larger questions about alcohol vs. marijuana. All he said was: we don't give alcohol to kids during the mass. It's not wine.

So there.

In a follow up email, I pressed Donilon on the basic question: why does the church tolerate alcohol but not pot? Donilon didn't answer. So I sent a second follow-up email asking the following question: "More broadly, why doesn't the Boston Archdiocese mind its own business? Why doesn't it just go back to doing what it was doing, which was covering up and, in effect, facilitating sexual assaults on children? We have reports that priests used alcohol as a way to get close to their victims. They also used pot. But, given the disinhibiting effects of alcohol, isn't alcohol a much greater danger when it's in the hands of any one with bad intentions, whether that person is pedophile priest or just a regular person?"

I admit: that question is a hard one to address. As of press time, Donilon hasn't responded. I'll let you know if he ever does.

 

[Photo: The Sisters of the Valley are 'nuns' in California who grow weed because of the healing power of CBD. They're not Catholic; they just look like it.]