Saturday, 27 July 2013

Why Fr Alexander Lucie Smith is Wrong and the Pope is Right

'Legalisation, regulation and taxation will mean that drugs are freely available. But you know what? They already are. The single most astonishing thing about the War on Drugs is its abysmal failure to stop anyone who wants drugs accessing them.' - Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith

Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, a Priest and Catholic theologian is arguing against the Holy Father's public position on drugs calling for an end to the 'war' against them.

Before I move forward to counter Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith's argument as I defend the Pope's stance, let us ask a question. Where does the Devil stand on this issue? I think once we have ascertained Beelzebub's position on the matter we may be further ahead in deciding whether we should go down the road of legalisation and regulation or retain the current state of affairs.

I would imagine that Satan wants to see the West legalise drugs. Here is why. He has achieved much through 'decriminalisation' and 'legalisation' and even 'regulation' in this country alone on several social evils. If we take ourselves back to the 1950s, when 'class A drugs' was a phrase unheard of and the cities were not awash with such powerful 'recreational' narcotics, Western societies did not have to confront this issue on such a wide scale. We cannot, however, see this issue in isolation because, suddenly, in the overflow of the excesses of the 1960s, nearly every social evil and taboo has been overturned. We can see Satan's hand in the gradual overturning of Christian laws in the common good of society masking itself as kindness, tolerance and even 'love'. The more dechristianised we have become as a society, the more tolerant has society and Government become to social evils.

The argument employed by Fr Alexander is this: that people are doing it anyway, people are going to do it anyway, so let's ensure they do it in a safe, regulated manner. Yet, is this not the argument employed by the social reformers who give condoms to school children and promote to them 'safe sex' way before they are ready and divorce sex from marriage?

Is this not the argument employed by the social reformers who sanctioned pornography? People are going to use pornography anyway, so let's not worry about it and just let this industry flourish. Is this not the argument employed concerning abortion? Women are dying in 'unsafe' abortion clinics ran by bad abortionists, so let's regulate it, legalise it and ensure unborn babies are killed in regulated abortion clinics ran by 'good' abortionists. There was once a 'war' against abortion in this country, with abortionists inhabiting prisons in the United Kingdom, yet now abortionists are free to roam around destroying the unborn. A paedophile group is now campaigning for the same 'rights' as homosexuals. People are going to fiddle with children anyway, so let's just provide them with children?

There were once Christian laws in the country concerning sodomy. These were never there, presumably, to punish homosexuals but to protect society from a prevailing culture that would damage both the institution of the family and marriage. Abortion laws were not there to punish women but to protect society and children. Here we are today, abortion more rampant than ever it was and the definition of marriage destroyed by a Prime Minister and sanctioned by a Christian Monarch. Despite the anger caused when a Pope, Bishop, Priest or layman says this, this is what society held as true only fifty years ago. I use these points only to illustrate that the more that Government and society has 'given in' to the temptation to liberalise laws there for the protection of society in the common good, the worse things have become for all - even if 'individuals' within that society see these developments as improvements in their personal liberty and freedom.

The fact of the matter is that it is true to say that bad men are making lots of money off the back of drug addicts. Why do these men become good if they make money off drug addicts in a regulated manner?  If Mr Big is a criminal under existing laws, then why does the head of GlaxoSmithKline become virtuous when he simply does what Mr Big was doing illegally? And exactly how seriously taken is the so called 'war on drugs' anyway? How are tonnes of bags of heroin and cocaine getting into the country? These are imports from a black market that involves millions, billions of pounds every year. Are you telling me that our customs people are so inept that they can do nothing - nothing - to stop this trade?

Here in Brighton, as far as I can see, there is no real 'war' on drugs. There is a war on drug addicts who are usually homeless. Lewes prison is full of junkies who were entrapped by Sussex Police into selling small amounts of heroin or cocaine in order to fund their own habits, but as for finding the real bigtime suppliers, the police seem either incompetent or are not too bothered. It strikes me as more likely that Government policy is designed to turn a blind eye to the reality of the drugs trade in the life of the nation because they know that it is a multi-billion pound black market trade that plays a part in the life of the economy. It wouldn't be wild conspiracy theory to suggest that the people at the top of this trade could even be part of an untouchable super-elite known to those in power.

Drugs, too, are not just something dabbled in by the poor, but the rich as well. Even our political elite themselves entertain themselves with them at times. Some lawyers do copious amounts of cocaine and we know that the media is awash with it. The fact is that drugs like these destroy lives. I do not see how if you 'regulate' and 'legalise' them, they will stop destroying the lives of individuals. Neither do I see the link Fr Alexander makes between legalisation, regulation and moral regeneration coming in its aftermath. Why can't moral regeneration come first? Isn't the duty of the State to ensure that laws reflect a moral society working in the common good of all, especially the protection of the family and children?

Believe me, I can really see the immense appeal of Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith's arguments. Unfortunately, however, they reflect the power of the Devil's suggestions that using the apparatus of the State to endorse social evils will remove social evils or somehow enable society to manage them. Time and time again, this has been proved to be a lie from the Father of lies. Why the employment of this argument would make drugs a different story is beyond me. Sadly, the legalisation of all drugs might work in utopia, but there and only there. The result of legalising drugs would create that State driven dystopia - the road upon which we are already well down.

Regardless, I expect the legalisation of all drugs to take place whatever the Church says about it, because it is the desire of the most powerful men on Earth that it should happen, for their profit and society's misfortune. George Soros's Open Society Foundation funded a recent report condemning the drug war as a failure. Mr Soros is a keen advocate of a liberal drug policy because he is a social liberal and a serious player in the creation of a dystopic new world order ran by a liberal but tyrannical super-elite along the lines of Brave New World. I know quite a few addicts of class A drugs. None would wish their plight on anyone. I fail to see how legalisation of these drugs would enable people to leave their lives of drugs, while Government and society endorses that very lifestyle through legalisation and regulation and I fail to see in Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith's argument, the Augustinian vision of 'The City of God' - a city awash with the finest wines and meats, but also heroin and cocaine?

Remember that ultimately those ensnared in the kinds of drugs that cause addicts to steal or that cause dealers to kill do have moral choice and that they tried to make a very rich Amy Winehouse go to rehab but, for a time at least, she said 'no, no, no.' 

Most people I know, though not all, who are doing class A drugs have given up on life, given up on God or feel that life and God has given up on them. Many street heroin takers were abused in childhood and use it to mask or numb their pain. I met a heroin user recently, a Catholic, who showed me the wound, which was actually near his groin, into which he injects heroin time and time again. He was abused as a child by the Christian Brothers. He attended the Papal Visit by Blessed Pope John Paul II and received Holy Communion there, but has since all but given up on the Catholic Faith. Terrible things were done to him by the Christian Brothers - all manner of abuse, sexual and physical! Another I know who has always been on heroin was raped by her step-father repeatedly. When she confronted him about it in her twenties, he, a Catholic no less, said, "You never said no."

These people I try with almost no success, to draw back into the Church, to offer compassion, but they are often so damaged and so scarred as individuals and so embroiled in this lifestyle that it overtakes their daily existence in their search for drugs that can numb their inner pain, their broken hearts. I have great sympathy with them, but the wounds are so deep, their pain so great, their existence so much on the peripheries of society that has abandoned them, that I doubt they will ever come back to the Church to be communicants and receive Jesus Who alone can heal such afflictions. Much of what happens to these unfortunates is unjust - their treatment at the hands of authorities for what is an addiction - but there needs to be stigma and there should be taboo around drugs if only for the protection of children who will face these same temptations as young adults. Pray for them, and pray for me that I may be truly Christlike towards those who I know who struggle daily with class A drugs. Catholic theologians, Government ministers, social reformers, the policy think-tankers - all these may know many things, but how many crack and heroin addicts do they actually know?


Bob Brookes said...

Thank you for a deep and ballanced appraisal of this complex subject. I have been a drug worker in the past and can vouch for everything you say.
God Bless you.

Pastor in Monte said...

Many thanks for this excellent and eloquent account. Though I like and respect Fr Lucie Smith very much, I think that on this issue I incline to your views.
One small point: It is my understanding that in fact the number of abortions has fallen in the last 12 months (though the number of late abortions for handicaps {including for hare lip] has increased). No doubt, however, this is because they don't reckon the use of the abortion pill into their accounting.

johnf said...

Another excellent post Lawrence, refuting ALS muddled thinking. I personally favour extreme penalties for drug traffickers.

Anyone caught in Malaysia with more than 16gm of heroin or 200gm of marijuana and subsequently convicted faces a mandatory death penalty.

Fr Alexander Lucie Smith is rapidly becoming a loose cannon. Last week he was playing down the threat of the homosexual agenda, and on the Catholic Herald's Website we have the comforting news that the leader of Stonewall does not regard religion as evil or wicked. Isn't that gracious of him?

Well I have news for you Mr Summerskill - the Catholic Church regards the practices you advocate as a grave depravity and against natural law.

umblepie said...

An excellent post,I absolutely agree with you.

BJC said...

The way I was taught it at school getting slightly drunk is a venial sin, getting totally drunk is a mortal sin and taking drugs is a mortal sin full stop. What Fr ALS is therefore recommending is that we legalise a mortal sin - that really is madness. If this is the sort of crooked thinking you develop when you become a doctor of moral theology then I don't want to be a doctor of moral theology, I'll just use my common sense instead. Can't help thinking that mixed up with his reasoning is a proportionalist or consequentionalist approach to moral theolgy because no doubt (?) he's against the legalisation of abortion and pornography which as far as I'm concerned are identical situations.

I think you really hit the nail on the head with these quotes:

(1) "Where does the Devil stand on this issue?"

(2) "We can see Satan's hand in the gradual overturning of Christian laws in the common good of society masking itself as kindness, tolerance and even 'love'."

You take a spiritual approach but he takes the secular one, and you end up with the right answer.

BJC said...

Just found this curious quote by Fr. ALS on Humanae Vitae, the orthodox view of which he seems to reject.

"I myself thought this worth doing – exploring the scriptures and looking at the teaching of Humanae Vitae through scriptural lenses, but no one was interested. Catholic publishers said it wasn’t Catholic enough and non-Catholic publishers said it was too Catholic."

The Bones said...

I know Fr ALS personally and I know he is a sound, orthodox priest, who, for the record, loves the Holy Tradition of the Church and the Mass of Ages.

BJC said...


Fine, I'll take your word for it. I just find this a strange thing to say.

Nicolas Bellord said...

BJC: I have looked at the blog you give the URL for. I cannot see that Father Lucie Smith is anything other than orthodox about HV as he encourages us to read it as a path to remedying our situation.

BJC said...


I'll make myself clearer. The thing that worries me about this is that he says in relation to his own research on the scriptures and HV, and what I assume was a book/booklet proposal (?), "Catholic publishers said it wasn't Catholic enough". That does beg the question, why so? That doesn't necessarily rule out that it wasn't orthodox, but it is I think a strange comment to make. The tone of the article worries me as well because with the Rowan Williams quotes thrown in he seems to be hinting at reconciling the irreconcilable. Granted we all read these things differently though, I'll believe Bones when he says Fr ALS is orthodox. That's what I'd heard too as well.

jaykay said...

Bones, I think what you say is very true but in particular when you mentioned the super-elite and State-driven dystopia, that sounded a chord... and I am no tinfoil hat wearer.

It's been my feeling for a long time that these people will encourage legalisation/ liberalisation of almost anything that has up to now been taboo, in the interests of weakening social structures in general and in particular those that could be described as based on Judaeo-Christian morality, since a panem et circenses society will be too stupified by its desires and therefore easily panicked into choosing whatever a controlled media will paint as being for the preservation of its own comforts. Initiatives such as legalisation of drugs (but take your pick really among the many such "liberalising" trends currently on offer) are just one more step towards that future.

However as soon as they've achieved the measure of control they desire over our wasted society: BAM!! The shutters will come down big time and the real controls will be put in place. And many of those whom they will regard as human waste will be the first to be removed from circulation. Maybe terminally.

We've seen it again and again. How likely are total control freaks, which is what these people are, (albeit now posing as champions of liberty) to permit any sort of behaviour that could adversely affect their own comfort and control? So that's it for all those whose addictions, narcotic, sexual or otherwise, will prevent them from being productive. And that will be the only end of man, to be a drone, since nothing exists beyond this life.

Moral? Well yes, actually, in an inverted way, since by their lights "morals" will be what they say they are at any given time. Il Duce ha sempre ragione and all that.

Nawom said...

I am deeply saddened to see a comparison of those campaigning for the 'rights' of paedophiles to those of the gay community. It is crass and deeply misleading. Whatever your personal or moral belief a consenting relationship between adults should never be compared to the abuse of a child.

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