BY CINDY WOODEN POPE BENEDICT XVI HAS
praised efforts by the Dutch government to reduce drug abuse and prostitution, measures hotly debated in the Netherlands where many cities, particularly Amsterdam, are famous for red-light districts and coffee shops selling cannabis.
The Pope told Joseph Weterings, the new Dutch ambassador to the Holy See: “While your nation has long championed the freedom of individuals to make their own choices, nevertheless, those choices by which people inflict harm on themselves or others must be discouraged for the good of individuals and society as a whole.” Mr Weterings presented his credentials to the Pope last Friday. Pope Benedict told the ambassador that the Church tried to speak on behalf of those on the margins of society and the most defenceless, including the poor, the sick, the unborn, the elderly and minorities.
Pope Benedict said he was “encouraged by the steps that the Dutch government has taken to discourage drug abuse and prostitution”.
Proposed legislation would make the marijuana coffee bars accessible to members only, raise the legal age for prostitutes and use stricter zoning laws to limit both the bars and the brothels.