The Pope’s Unfinished Business
Feb 24, 2013
Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco (PANAT) has written to the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, U.S. Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó and to Pope Benedict expressing their sadness over the Pope’s decision to resign without addressing the tobacco problem and its worldwide morbidity and mortality. “We are disappointed the tobacco problem persists from pontificate to pontificate without scrutiny,” said Roger Boshes, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and PANAT co-founder. “Various religious entities have considered the moral implications of the tobacco issue but there has been no cohesive action or teaching. The condemnation of tobacco by the Rabbinical Council of America in 2006 was never publicly supported or even acknowledged by their younger, historically speaking, spiritual brethren.”
“The curious assortment of mood-enhancing chemicals in tobacco make it the most effective, and the most deadly, antidepressant in nature” stated Harvard -affiliated Child Psychiatrist and PANAT advisor Alfred Darby MD.
“In his encyclical document “Charity in Truth” Benedict wrote ‘moral evaluation and scientific research must go hand in hand in the solution of socio-economic problems’. This is in consonance with Leo XIII’s statement in Immortale Dei that the Church ‘does not repudiate the discoveries of modern research’ and ‘recognizes a duty to conform life and conduct to gospel precepts’. In Popolorum Progressio, Paul VI wrote ‘the individual who is animated by true charity labors skillfully to discover the causes of misery, to find the means to combat it, to overcome it resolutely’. In De Moribus Ecclesiae, Augustine of Hippo, fifteen centuries ago, discussed the Church’s role in the promotion and protection of the common good,” added General Adult Psychiatrist and PANAT co-founder Claude Curran MD. “The 6,000,000 annual worldwide deaths resulting from tobacco addiction are ignored by our moral leaders. The failure of the First Estate to act against the tobacco industry is an enormous error. Their writings, both modern and ancient, no matter how inspired, are mere sentimentalism if there is no social application. The ancient Greeks never applied their mathematics to reality, the Roman’s practical application of those borrowed formulae elevated civilization to a new level,” he continued.
Pope Benedict’s tobacco habit is believed to have caused the blood vessel disease which resulted in his cardiac, hearing, and vision problems starting in the 1990’s.
“Addiction is not an abstract concept, it has a pathological basis. Worldwide, tobacco is the major cause of addiction and preventable disease and death,” according to Curran.
In the letter PANAT discussed World Health Organization estimates that between 80,000 to 100,000 children start smoking tobacco daily worldwide. PANAT considers this a blatant form of child abuse.