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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Villegas blasts ‘misleading’ report on CBCP’s marijuana stand

From the Website of CBCP

Villegas blasts ‘misleading’ report on CBCP’s marijuana stand

DAGUPAN City, Pangasinan, Aug. 17, 2015—The head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Monday blasted a report that had the Church backing moves to legalize marijuana in the country, saying it was “misleading.”

CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas clarified over Facebook that in his “Pastoral Guidance on the COMPASSIONATE USE OF CANNABIS,” the Church’s policy-making body “neither endorses nor objects” to such proposals given the operative complexities the bill entails to which he admitted CBCP is not qualified to speak about.

“Let me make the point clear: IN RESPECT TO WHATEVER MEASURES ARE NOW PENDING BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE, CBCP NEITHER ENDORSES NOR OBJECTS, realizing that the regulatory schemes and administrative strategies they attempt to establish are beyond the competence of the CBCP to comment on,” stressed Villegas.

Misleading headline

He said the misleading headline, “CBCP Backs Marijuana Bill,” would have been far more helpful had it been published in full instead of creating the wrong impression in the minds of the public.
The prelate went on to explain that the pastoral letter which he lamented had been taken out of context in fact presented nothing new, but only repeated what the Catholic Church teaches.

According to Villegas, this teaching can be summed up as follows:

Addiction is wrong, and those who facilitate addiction by placing habituating drugs within easy reach commit a very serious wrong.

The constant teaching of Church is that palliative care using narcotics is ethically permissible when there is no other convenient and available means with which to alleviate the suffering of the terminally ill.

No endorsement

In other cases, the principle of proportionality is to be applied which makes means licit when there is PROPORTION between the risks and disadvantages and the benefits expected or anticipated.
Meanwhile, in a July 9, 2014 circular, Villegas had already made it clear that CBCP is not endorsing the legalization of cannabis, better known as marijuana.

“THE CBCP is NOT endorsing the legalization of marijuana. It has merely noted that under the existing provisions of R.A. 9165, particularly Section 81, ‘r’, the Dangerous Drugs Board may permit the importation, distribution and prescription of dangerous drugs for medical and research purposes,”” he said.

Citing the Charter for Catholic Health Care Workers, the Pangasinan prelate, however, pointed out the use of narcotic substances in analgesia and pain management is “morally permissible” especially for the terminally ill.

“That is quite a different matter from the claim that CBCP endorses the legalization of marijuana. We did no more than underscore existing provisions of law and Catholic moral doctrine,” Villegas added. (Raymond A. Sebastián/ CBCP News)

CBCP Website

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