As early 20th century English writer, journalist, theologian, poet, dramatist, literary & art critic, biographer, cultural observer & anthropologist, philosopher, orator, and Catholic apologist G.K. Chesterton said: “In Catholicism, the pint, the pipe and the Cross can all fit together.”

Pope Urban VIII, however, didn’t think the same of powdered tobacco and believed it had no place in Catholicism.

That’s why in 1624 he issued a papal bull forbidding Catholics to use powdered tobacco, also known as snuff.

For what reason? Snuff has a tendency to cause one to sneeze. The late pontiff believed said sneezing was akin to “sexual ecstasy,” and was a near occasion of sin enough to be forbidden else one be excommunicated.

100 years later, Pope Benedict XIII promulgated a new papal bull superseding Urban VIII’s, and Catholic’s once again could use powdered tobacco.

Today we known the Catechism forbids us to abuse any substance it excess, but it does not explicitly prohibit the use of tobacco.

“The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 2290

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