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Pope Francis offers 'hope' at rehab center

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis talked about drugs and legalization yesterday while visiting a rehabilitation hospital in Brazil.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (Catholic Online) - The Holy Father addressed patients and staff during the dedication of a new wing at St. Francis Hospital in Rio.

"The scourge of drug-trafficking, that favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage." The Pope said that legalizing drugs was not an answer.

"Rather," Pope Francis continued,  "it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future. We all need to look upon one another with the loving eyes of Christ, and to learn to embrace those in need, in order to show our closeness, affection and love."

The message of the Holy Father is not one of license, but rather an invitation to seek out happiness and well-being elsewhere. While drugs may provide an instant, temporary fix to pain, it is only through faith that people can find lasting happiness. Proof is that monasteries are filled with happy people who have no need of drugs.

Pope Francis reminded everyone that the Church was there for them. "The Church and so many people are close to you. Look ahead with confidence," he said.

Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro in particular, has long been beset by troubles with drugs and trafficking. Rio is one of the worst cities for drug and gang violence and human trafficking is rife, especially in poorer neighborhoods. The city's expansive slums provide fertile ground for desperation which leads to drug abuse, violence, and victimization.

None of this is helped by rampant government corruption.

The only solution these people truly have is God and the Church. Ever present, always ready to serve, the Church waits patiently for those who need her succor to approach in a spirit of repentance and trust. There is no greater slave for all that ails us than the love of Christ. The lives of the saints proves this to us.

The words of Pope Francis then, are a reminder to us all, no matter where we live. True healing comes from Christ and his physicians in the Church are ready to receive us.

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