Can you vape as a Roman Catholic?
Finally, last but not least in the series on vaping and religion, today we are looking at electronic cigarettes and Christianity. Can you vape as a Roman Catholic? Interestingly, the answer to this simple question is by far the most complicated of the three religions of the Book.
“Passions in and of themselves are neither good nor bad. “- Saint Thomas Aquinas
Is vaping allowed, tolerated or a sin? After doing our best to find answers for Muslims and members of the Jewish faith, I thought – a little naively – “We will end with Christians, and due to my own Catholic education, this will be an easy article to write.” It was my first mistake. Given the complexity of the subject, I thought, “Well, the Church can give me a specific answer.” It was my second mistake.
Because you cannot understand the position of Roman Catholicism in relation to electronic cigarettes – and by that I do not mean the Church – if you are not fully aware of its history, and if you do not know where you are. you stand.
Because the Gospel of Jesus, if you had to sum it up in one word, it would be “choice”. The Christ on whom the Christian faith is based left no commandment, but rather a teaching. Everyone is free to choose God’s way or not, and everyone is free to do it in their own way.
After Jesus comes the Church, whose mission was to teach the Holy Gospel. In order to clarify the message, through its history, its canons and its decrees and its schisms, the Gospel has been transformed into official doctrine, that is to say a system of laws, rules, duties and prohibitions emanating not directly from the Gospel of Christ, but from its interpretation and its transposition to secular life (real life, as opposed to spiritual life).
In addition, the commandments of the Church were dictated by the times, the political context, etc. All this to say: do not wait for a firm, clear and definitive answer.
The body as a temple
The first argument you might make is that your body is a temple.
And in this case, that argument doesn’t work. Because if you claim the body is a temple given to the religious believer by God, you are suggesting that vaping is harmful. So the problem is this: Either vaping is, in the mind of the vaper, harmful, in which case vaping is not recommended. You heard me right – it is not recommended, but neither is it prohibited: remember that the key word in Christian faith is “choice”. Either it is not harmful, or is not as harmful as tobacco, and in this case, it is either neutral or recommended as a temporary solution.
Therefore, the argument of the body as a temple does not hold, unless you are fully aware that you are vaping a liquid that you know contains dangerous substances, which fortunately very rarely does.
The argument that this could be a sin is trickier. You vape because you like it – you originally wanted to quit smoking, but you get a satisfaction from vaping that makes you want to keep doing it… It is not, in the broadest Christian sense, a sin .
Indeed, there is nothing in Roman Catholic philosophy that prevents you from enjoying the resources that God has provided for humanity on Earth. Vaping is a product of the human intellect, and human intelligence was, according to Christians, a gift from God who created us; vaping therefore falls into this category. However, gluttony is a sin, which can be interpreted as excessive consumption.
However, all of the priests I interviewed for this article blanked out when I asked them to define excessive vaping consumption. “Total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation”, according to Saint Augustine, who however does not advise abstinence: it is too easy, and needlessly deprives Humanity of the pleasure that God has given it. “A minimum of comfort is necessary for the practice of virtue,” adds Thomas Aquinas.
Justify oneself before God
The ultimate solution depends on each individual.
As we have already seen, the Catholic faith – as defined by Jesus – is a matter of choice and personal judgment. In addition, the God of the New Testament is willing to forgive. Therefore, a Christian who comes before God on the day of reckoning to ask for eternal life has nothing to fear from his mistakes if they were made in good faith and without conscience.
Simply put: if they don’t harm themselves or others, and if vaping doesn’t stop them from following Christian standards, solidarity, and charity, then they’re not doing any harm, or at least do not commit any sins for which they cannot be forgiven. As Saint Augustine says: “Better to limp in the right way than to walk strongly in the wrong direction”.
As we understand, if you don’t do any harm by vaping, and if it doesn’t prevent you from doing good, then there is nothing in the Christian faith that requires you to practice abstinence. This is the most precise answer we can give you. Other precepts may supplement or contradict this statement, but they are doctrines applicable to groups that are required to follow a specific path. You are free to choose to follow them or not.
As a last question, should you vape Crab Juice on a Friday? The answer to this precise question is clear: at no time does God ask Man to voluntarily and gratuitously undergo excessive suffering. So no.