Is it alright to smoke while you pray?

While I was still in university, a Jesuit once asked me this question,

‘Is it alright for someone to smoke while they pray?’

My immediate, indignant response was,

‘Of course not.’

So he challenged me,

‘Would it be alright for someone to pray while they smoke?

I don’t smoke, but I’ve often enjoyed a gin and tonic, beer or glass of wine while reciting Vespers quietly on the balcony on a warm summer evening :stuck_out_tongue:

My Protestant wife feigns being scandalized (we often jokingly rib each other), and I always answer that Catholics are not puritans, and our greatest sacrament transubstantiates a cup of wine so it can’t be wrong to enjoy one while reciting liturgy :wink:

I like your Jesuit prof’s response. I love the way the Jesuit mind works :smiley:

love your response to your wife…so true about the puritan influences on American Christianity

I am a Canadian as well!

Praying in your head is the only way someone puffing on a cigarette could pray while smoking. While the Catholic Church may not consider smoking sinful, smoking is harmful to the body and someone puffing away on a cigarette doesn’t seem to be a frame of mind to pray, it seems like their focus is on what is in their hands. I would think the Jesuit Professor was trying to make a point about anyone praying at any time no matter what they are doing even if it is smoking.


To me, the answer is generally no, unless one has an uncontrollable addiction. The reason is that prayer should be done with one’s whole mind, heart, and body (that is why Orthodox Jews move their body while they pray). It should not be a secondary or incidental activity.

true for planned prayer times…I think the point is that prayer can be as much part of us as breathing, even as we struggle with bad habits or even sin

Haha I love it!

LOVE THIS …I will have to include some of theses comments and this quote into my blog post

While smoking may not send you to hell, it does make you smell like you have been there!:smiley:



very astute :slight_smile:

Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing right? ! It would be better not to smoke at all and just pray, but its better to pray while you smoke if you must smoke.


For me prayer should be my entire life. Everything that I do, becomes a prayer. So prayer cannot exclude other actions.

I believe so! Why wouldn’t you be able to? :shrug:

:thumbsup: that is an answer from someone who knows the love and forgiveness of God

Your post reminded me of the following joke that ive placed in a quote box :smiley:

  Two Jesuit novices both wanted a cigarette while they prayed. They decided to ask their superior for permission. The first asked but was told no. A little while later he spotted his friend smoking and praying. "Why did the superior allow you to smoke and not me?" he asked. His friend replied, "Because you asked if you could smoke while you prayed, and I asked if I could pray while I smoked!"