FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums
Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Printable Version

+- FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums)
+-- Forum: Church (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=2)
+--- Forum: Catholicism (https://www.fisheaters.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?fid=10)
+--- Thread: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? (/showthread.php?tid=42231)

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - SouthpawLink - 02-14-2011

Jayne,
I must admit that I haven't really followed the studies on smoking; it's never been much of an interest for me.

If we can agree on small quantities and occasional use, then I'm fine with that.  A cigarette or cigar here and there shouldn't be sinful.

I appreciate your compliment.  You have done well to keep your cool.  ;)


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - JayneK - 02-14-2011

I found an interesting article that appeared in Time magazine in 1957. There are several noteworthy points. It demonstrates Catholic moral principles being applied to the issue of smoking by a priest known for his orthodoxy (Connell).  It mentions that Pius XII told the Jesuits that they must not smoke.  It shows that the dangers of smoking were not understood at that time.

If cigarettes really are cancer-breeding coffin nails, is it a sin to smoke them? Last week, in Notre Dame's Ave Maria magazine, a top-ranking canon-law expert, the Very Rev. Francis J. Connell, dean of the School of Sacred Theology at Washington's Catholic University, sifted ashtrays in a search for moral wrong. Nonsmoker Connell's canonical conclusion: it takes a lot of puffing to make a cig a sin—generally three packs a day.

Theologian Connell started from a different point than Pope Pius XII who last month condemned smoking by members of religious orders as self-indulgence (TIME, Sept. 30). Arguing that because he is God's property, an individual has no right to endanger himself foolishly, Connell nevertheless admits that dangerous acts can sometimes be justified by the "principle of double effect" (both good and evil resulting from the same act, with the good more weighty). Scientists, he notes, have given preponderant evidence that excessive cigarette smoking greatly increases the probability of lung cancer, while moderate smoking increases the likelihood only slightly. Common sense shows that a slight danger may be risked, even if the only good that results is pleasure or relaxation (e.g., horseback riding is permissible, although there is a remote possibility that the rider may be thrown and killed). Therefore, moderate cigarette smoking is not sinful, unless for special reasons a doctor forbids it, while immoderate smoking is a sin.

It is probably only a venial sin for healthy smokers, explains Father Connell, because evidence of danger is not yet conclusive. But if the immoderate smoker is not healthy, or if science succeeds in providing conclusive proof of danger, then the sin becomes more serious. Taking into consideration that some smokers do not inhale, and that some grind out each weed after a few drags (but without bringing filter tips into his calculations), Father Connell leniently set the sinful borderline for excessive smoking at three packs a day.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,937961,00.html#ixzz1Dz63TDK5



Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Bakuryokuso - 02-14-2011

Baskerville, this thread has been extremely useful to me. As an ex-Evangelical, I can tell you that the teaching was that smoking, any smoking, is a sin. So it's been very helpful to be enlightened about actual Catholic teaching. My son's getting baptized in 6 weeks and his godfather has the occasional puff of a pipe so clearly I don't think that's an impediment to being an excellent sponsor, alongide his wife as godmother.

I think the new Catechism is a bit dodgy in parts - it also gives the green light to gambling which, I'm told, some saints were against because it can engender greed.

Nic, I think the whole Pope Jayne/Church of Jayne is a bit over the top. Catholic means universal - the church is a wide tent - there are lots of folks gonna disagree with you, I think you should learn to co-exist without accusing them of heresy. Cos TLM's are gonna grow, more folks will join the forum and they'll have lotsa questions.

I don't smoke and I'm absolutely forbidding my son to ever smoke cigarettes because of the danger of becoming addicted to them. Scripture's clear we shouldn't become a slave to anything or anyone. So if you can smoke your pipe for pleasure without it becoming a crutch, more power to you.

About the anti-smoking legislation, I praise it because in many cases, smoking cigarettes in front of non-smokers is a sin against charity. Lots of us find it gross and disgusting. Gentlemen will excuse themselves and have a drag outside if need be. So I think it's appropriate that in my province it's forbidden in bars, restaurants and workplaces. Smoke at home or outside if you must.

Cheers all.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Martinus - 02-14-2011

It seems pretty clear to me that this is a matter of conscience. If you smoke while honestly believing it's seriously harming you to do so, you could be sinning (it would still depend on other possible mitigating factors).

Now I know we have to inform our own consciences, but you have to do that by knowing the teaching of the Church, not the contents of all the latest medical journals. You keep saying the comparison to unhealthy food is a bad one, but I honestly don't see why. You could find studies to, not entirely irrationally, convince yourself that almost anything is seriously harmful. If you read that stuff a lot, it might be a concern for you. But there's no way you can condemn a person who simply doesn't care all that much what the 'latest findings' are.

The only way you can lay the obligation not to smoke on everyone is if the Church decides to study all the medical stuff and comes to the conclusion that it needs to me forbidden as a matter of discipline. Then, everyone's under obligation to know what the Church commands and to follow it. Needless to say, that hasn't happened. OK, I suppose if it were blindingly obvious that it was deadly (like, to the point that smokers are dropping down dead in front of our eyes left right and centre) then the Church wouldn't need to say anything. But then, in that case, there wouldn't be any need for so many medical studies and public information campaigns and all the rest of it.

I obviously don't have a problem with you holding the view personally, as a matter of conscience, that you shouldn't smoke. I don't think you have any right, though, to try to make that binding on everyone else. Until the Church does, it simply isn't.

EDIT: typo


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Vetus Ordo - 02-14-2011

(02-14-2011, 09:00 PM)Bakuryokuso Wrote: About the anti-smoking legislation, I praise it because in many cases, smoking cigarettes in front of non-smokers is a sin against charity. Lots of us find it gross and disgusting. Gentlemen will excuse themselves and have a drag outside if need be. So I think it's appropriate that in my province it's forbidden in bars, restaurants and workplaces. Smoke at home or outside if you must.

The same could be said about drinking alcohol in front of abstemious folks or ex-alcoholics.

Nevertheless, there's no such legislation against drinking in public.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Bakuryokuso - 02-14-2011

i dont think anyone's trying to make anything binding on anyone beyond what church teaching says.

Someone who "doesnt care at all" though, I'm not so sure that's always an excuse because they could be uncaring due to spiritual apathy, which would be bad. In other words, case by case basis.

The difference with food is that food keeps you alive whereas smoking is not a human need. Europeans got along find for 2,000 without it


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Martinus - 02-14-2011

(02-14-2011, 09:32 PM)Bakuryokuso Wrote: Someone who "doesnt care at all" though, I'm not so sure that's always an excuse because they could be uncaring due to spiritual apathy, which would be bad. In other words, case by case basis.

The difference with food is that food keeps you alive whereas smoking is not a human need. Europeans got along find for 2,000 without it

Yeah, I meant 'has better things to do than study all the latest medical evidence', not spiritual apathy. That could be an issue, certainly.

And while what you say about food is true, there's still the case of what you choose to eat. Especially nowadays, we have a lot of choice. But I don't think anyone would say we are bound to inform our consciences with all the latest findings of nutritionists, at least if we're not suffering from illnesses that make such a thing strictly necessary.

I wasn't replying directly to you by the way. I can't remember the details now of who said what, but I'm sure there are one or two people in this thread who seem to be arguing that smoking could, in general, be called a sin.

EDIT to add: In fact, it's the topic of the whole thread, isn't it? 'Why claim that smoking isn't a sin?' For the reasons I set out, at least in part. I don't claim it's never a sin, and I don't think anyone would. But I'd certainly say nobody can claim 'smoking is a sin' unless a Church law forbids it.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - JayneK - 02-14-2011

(02-14-2011, 09:25 PM)Martinus Wrote: I obviously don't have a problem with you holding the view personally, as a matter of conscience, that you shouldn't smoke. I don't think you have any right, though, to try to make that binding on everyone else. Until the Church does, it simply isn't.

I am not trying to make anything binding on anybody.  I am trying to understand what the Church teaches.  To the best of my understanding, this teaching is that smoking enough to harm oneself, without a proportionate reason, is sinful.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Bakuryokuso - 02-14-2011

Vetus! Glad you chimed in, since this thread was birthed from a comment you made :)

Well, at least here in Quebec it's against the law to drink alcohol on the street. You have to be at home or in a restaurant with a liquor license.

I've known lots of guys in Alcoholics Anonymous and at least from their perspective the whole prohibition thing didn't work out too well.

A difference is that I don't mind seeing people smoke - I just don't like inhaling cigarette smoke. So I think it'd be much easier not to smell liquor in a restaurant than not to smell smoke.


Re: Why claim that smoking is not a sin? - Martinus - 02-14-2011

(02-14-2011, 09:47 PM)JayneK Wrote:
(02-14-2011, 09:25 PM)Martinus Wrote: I obviously don't have a problem with you holding the view personally, as a matter of conscience, that you shouldn't smoke. I don't think you have any right, though, to try to make that binding on everyone else. Until the Church does, it simply isn't.

I am not trying to make anything binding on anybody.  I am trying to understand what the Church teaches.  To the best of my understanding, this teaching is that smoking enough to harm oneself, without a proportionate reason, is sinful.

Fair enough, and sorry if I misunderstood you. But how much is enough to harm oneself, that would be my question then?

And how much would you have to harm yourself? A pleasant but unecessary walk in the park could lead to a nettle sting, or the procurement of honey (which you don't need, you just want it because it tastes nice) could lead to a few bee stings. The harm would have to be somewhat more than superficial, wouldn't it?

And, lets assume it is sufficiently harmful: is it obvious enough that that's the case that we're bound to know it and take it into account?

I agree, in a sense, with what you said. But I'd add that the person somking would have to be reasonably sure the the actual act of smoking they're engaging in is causing them a sufficient amount of harm that they know they really shouldn't be doing it. And I'd say that doesn't apply in at least most cases.