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Funding the Bishops’ causes, Pt.2 January 31, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.
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A short time back, I explained why my family and I do not support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, or give to Catholic Charities.   If my reasoning was not compelling at that time, perhaps it is now.

As a recovering addict, I can say that this action, no matter how well intended, no matter how well researched, is, ultimately, badly mistaken.  I know the temptation of sentimality is to try to do all we can to help protect those who struggle with addiction from harming themselves, but giving addicts clean needles will only encourage them to remain addicts.  Addicts are the worst kinds of slaves.  Any action that enables them to continue the endless rationalizations of their addiction will keep them in that slavery longer.  I know the way the addict mind works, and this will take away one of the big reasons an addict may find to quit – fear of death from an agonizing illness.  Even in the depths of addiction, there is still some glimmer of rational thinking, and fear of death has prompted many addicts to finally get clean.  By making clean needles available, this well intended action will keep many addicts in their misery.

And, studies have shown that heroin/methamphetamine culture is not very swayed by these kinds of programs.  Sharing needles is part of the culture – you get high together, you use the same junk, and you share the needles.  It may help to a degree, but I think the danger this program poses to keep many addicts mired in their addiction outweighs the benefits. 

From the point of view of the Church and its mission, I think this program is another case of mistaking sentimality for genuine charity.  This program essentially puts Catholic Charities in the role of aiding and abetting a mortal sin – intoxicating drug use.  All intoxication is a sin, and chronic intoxication in the form of addiction is a mortal sin.  I can speak from experience, the addict is completely cut off from God’s grace by their actions, which are wholly centered on the self, with the only concern for others being in the fostering of their ability to continue their habit.  Making ‘clean’ needles available involves the Church in the continuance of a mortal sin – this is beyond tragic, it’s heart breaking, no matter how well intended. 

This is why my family only funds specific, well researched charities.  Although this is in another diocese, examples such as this make me increasingly reticent to fund Catholic Charities at all.