During his relatively short run as one of the most famous humans on Earth, Pope Francis has managed to create a public image that depicts him as a kind of cool, laid-back, open-hearted and reasonable pope. He’s the pope even a vegan, atheist, LGBTQ person could learn to love (or at least consider vastly preferable to his immediate predecessors).
Yet according to a new report from the Associated Press, it appears that even the “cool” pope is, well, still a fundamentally conservative and paternalistic figure who believes people should be protected from making their own choices. During a meeting in Rome on Friday with members of a drug-enforcement conference, the AP reports, Pope Francis reiterated his previously stated opposition to efforts by some to legalize various recreational drugs.
Francis reportedly told his audience that even modest attempts to legalize some drugs — like marijuana, for example — “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.” Francis also said that addiction to drugs “is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.” He went on to state what he said had previously been his position: “No to every type of drug use. It is as simple as that.”
Whether it was the entirety or merely the majority of those in attendance who then wanted to make a “Lighten up, Francis” joke remains unclear.