Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Cost of Addiction

The horse race track on any given Sunday is filled with betters dreaming of hitting it big. Just another of the many rampant addictions that keep us from growing spiritually. A priest responsible for the pastoral care of those addicted expresses his thoughts in the Peace Weekly on the serious evil of addictions. 
" Addiction is not a simple  problem to deal with. The consequences are an enormous  loss to society and one that hurts the church greatly," he laments. "Children are addicted to games, mothers to shopping, cosmetics, fathers to the gambling casinos and to alcohol.  Addiction ruins our mental health, nurtures crime, destroys the moral order, in a word, it brings moral depravity and death."

In an accompanying article Pope Francis, in his Lenten message on destitution, is quoted as saying, "[Destitution] is not the same as poverty. Destitution is poverty without faith, without support, without hope. There are three types of destitution: material, moral and spiritual....No less a concern is moral destitution, which consists in slavery to vice and sin. How much pain is caused in families because one of their members-– often a young person--is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography! How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future. This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the spiritual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love."

Statistics show that in Korea one out of 8 persons is addicted. A professor at the Catholic University says that of the 50 million in Korea over 6 million are addicted to either alcohol, gambling, the internet or to drugs; the loss to society is enormous. Each of our acts has ramifications that we are not able to foresee or imagine, but the consequences will appear sooner or later to both the individual and society.  

The prevalence of suicide, abortion and the like in our society shows contempt for life and the destitution of our morals. When we do something that shows contempt for life, whether we realize it or not, there are bound to be grave consequences. 

The medical and educational concerns surrounding these issues should be addressed by the government, the priest urges. Other serious topics of discussion, he says, would be addressing the unequal distribution of wealth, and the current unemployment rate of about 4 percent. All these problems of society demand concern from  the government, churches and voluntary organizations in society, and in trying to solve them we should not in the process foster more material, moral  and spiritual poverty. 

The article quotes from Joy of the Gospel "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion." We as Christians should  be concerned and do what we can to make our society better and more just.

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