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Smoke of Satan still permitted…

Francis outlaws Sale of Cigarettes in Vatican City

Francis has once again shown his iron “papal” fist: In a fearless move against the powers of darkness, the “Pope” has now outlawed the sale of cigarettes throughout every square inch of the 0.17 sq mi of Vatican City State, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

In a Nov. 9 statement released by the Unholy See’s Press Office, spokesman Greg Burke explained the move on the grounds that “the Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people”, according to a report published by Crux.

Rome Reports issued the following brief video summary:

We must point out that, curiously enough, what is banned in the Vatican as of 2018 is not the sale of all tobacco products but only that of cigarettes: “The sale of large cigars though will continue,” press secretary Burke added and provided a Clintonesque justification: “since the smoke is not inhaled”.

Got it! Perhaps by moving from smoking cigarettes to smoking cigars, nationals of Vatican City can show that they are now ready to take “a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants”, as “Pope” Benedict XVI might put it.

To be clear: It is certainly not wrong to ban tobacco sales in Vatican City. The Pope — a true Pope — certainly has the authority and the right to do so if he deems it a prudent move. That’s not the issue. The issue is that once again Francis is worried about anything except that which he ought to worry about, given his claim to being the Pope of the Catholic Church.

When during the canonization proceedings for Pope Pius X (d. 1914) in the early 1950s, the advocatus diaboli (devil’s advocate) objected to the holiness of Giuseppe Sarto on the grounds that he had been a smoker, the cardinals in attendance reportedly laughed out loud (some of them quite possibly with cigarettes in hand).

One must ask: Where is that much-touted “mercy” for those addicted to the smoking of cigarettes? What about the concrete circumstances of their situation? What if those didn’t allow them to act differently? What about the complexity of their limits? What if they don’t understand the inherent values of the rule? And now they’re being pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable personal and pastoral discernment!

Alas, the usual buzzwords of discernment, accompaniment, integration, and all the rest are apparently not applicable to the smoking of cigarettes, only to the practice of serious moral evils such as adultery, which poses no threat to the body but causes instant death for sanctifying grace in the soul, not for one but for two people. It looks like we’ll be waiting for an exhortation entitled Fumandi Laetitia for eons to come.

No word yet, by the way, on whether “the smoke of Satan” (words of “Pope” Paul VI in 1972) has been banned from the Vatican — but judging by external indicators, inhaling it seems to be mandatory at this point.