The following comes from a Sept. 4 story by Mathew Schmalz on CruxNow.com.
California voters are set to ratify – or defeat – a state agreement to let two Native American tribes build casinos. In Colorado, residents will have to decide whether to allow slot machines, card games, and roulette at horse racetracks.
South Carolina is mulling whether to build “well-regulated, upscale” casinos in and around Myrtle Beach, while Massachusetts residents will have the chance to repeal a 2011 law permitting resort casinos to open in the state for the first time.
In deciding what to do, Catholic voters face a conundrum.
Gambling is not prohibited for Catholics, but it’s an increasingly hard sell under the pontificate of Pope Francis.
In 2011, the bishops of Massachusetts came out against the expanded gambling bill, which they said would allow “predatory” practices that had the potential to fundamentally alter communities in the Commonwealth.
But in that same letter, the bishops acknowledged that the Catholic Church does, indeed, permit “games of chance.” After all, the Church itself is involved in gambling through its well-known use of bingo games to supplement parish funding. The letter goes on to make a rhetorical plea: “We hope the citizens will recognize the difference between a local fund-raiser managed by volunteers and a multi-billion dollar industry that exploits vulnerable members of the community for financial gain.”
Bingo versus casino gambling. Merely a difference in degree? Not so fast.
The Catholic catechism addresses gambling under its broader discussion of the Seventh Commandment, “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” The Catechism makes clear that “games of chance themselves are not contrary to justice,” but adds the very strong caveat that gambling becomes morally unacceptable when it deprives “someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.”
When it comes to the needs of others, Catholicism has some pretty strong things to say. The Catholic tradition of social thought makes it very clear that we should consider the goods we possess as not exclusively ours, but as held in common with others.
Pope Francis has echoed this point numerous times — most recently when he quoted St. John Chrysostom: “Not to share one’s goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods that we possess, but theirs.”
Catholics have always had a rather ambivalent relationship with money. On one hand, the rich have been as privileged in Catholicism as they have been in any other religious tradition. The rich have access to influence and power — and also have an easier time getting annulments.
On the other hand, poverty is one of the foremost virtues celebrated within the Catholic tradition. It’s often said that the riches of the saints can be found in their poverty — and poverty is one of the vows that members of religious orders must take, along with chastity and obedience.
As far as public policy is concerned, the Catholic approach to casino gambling has usually been to ensure that it doesn’t go too far. That was the position taken by Pennsylvania’s bishops who addressed the issue of riverboat gambling by laying out the standards by which it should be regulated.
The message was simple: You can gamble, but take it easy. Do so temperately — within appropriate limits….
To read the entire story, click here.
On an old “Maverick” episode, the character played by James Garner insisted that he would never play with a man who could not afford to lose. But how am I ever to know whether the guy across the table from me (even if the table is only a kitchen table) can afford to gamble? I cannot be party to another man’s sins, but how am I to know? “Who am I to judge?” Yet whatever may be debated about casual, infrequent gambling, commercial gambling has proved toxic beyond a reasonable doubt. (For the record: I don’t gamble because I doubt I would enjoy it.)
When Pope Francis appointed/approved to the upcoming Synod – Cardinals Kasper (wanting adulterers to receive Holy Communion);
Cardinals Danneels, Dolan, and Wuerl, (who do not believe in the mortal sins of Scandal or Sacrilege (re: the Eucharist for those in mortal sin);
some non-Catholic, non-voting fraternal members from the Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal and other Protestant Churches;
and his numerous quotes in the press that violate Church teaching as stated in the Bible and the CCC, – he lost his stature regarding his “personal opinions” in the eyes of many Faithful and is considered ignorable.
This is indeed unfortunate, causing grave confusion.
However, Protestants, Catholic heretics, and Catholic schismatics who don’t care about accurate Church teachings enjoy the ‘personal opinions’ of Pope Francis.
Btw – it is idolatry to put human beings (even the poor) above God.
Gambling is bad. I’m thankful that I find casino gambling boring. I try not to associate with gamblers, and I won’t knowingly hire one. Gamblers are always trying to get something for nothing, but they usually end up getting nothing for something. That “something” is often money lost, time wasted, and relationships ruined. Gambling hasn’t helped the Indians get ahead economically and to successfully assimilate, it hasn’t helped Atlantic City (it’s still a dump), and there’s a dark side to Nevada like you wouldn’t believe. I wish the Catholic parishes would think of more constructive ways to raise money besides bingo games, car raffles, and 50/50 contests.
I remember we had a “Theology on Tap” speaker a while back-maybe 10 years ago; and he was a priest who told us that one of the fastest growing groups of gambling addicts are married Filipino women (and women of other ethnic minorities who are Catholic). Their gambling debt would all too often pressure them into a secret life of prostitution (readily assisted by evil men just waiting to pimp them), thus perpetuating a diabolic cycle that has very sad consequences. But thankfully after a fervent return to the sacraments and deliverance prayers, many are able to be healed.
The Church is correct in stating that games of chance are OK. After all, the Church has been gambling with the good will of the laity for a number of years now, but has yet to hit the jackpot…..indeed, they are on a losing streak that still shows no end in sight. Let’s all pray for a winning streak, which the Church urgently needs.
Innocent gambling, such as bingo, does little or no harm. In fact, it has been used at Catholic fundraisers for quite a while. Raffle tickets have also been used to help fund charitable organizations. However, huge casinos, and ‘one armed bandets’ do moe harm than good. Many people land in the poor house because they have gambled away all their savings. It has also caused many marriages to fail. Playing cards is a fun past time, bu oftentimes playing poker can lead to poverty/ People shuld use common sense, but unfortunately, this is a quality which has practically all but disappeared in our society. We should ask ourselves the question ” Does gambling bring mme closer to God, or is is seperating Him from me?” If it does not lead to our betterment, then it must be avoided. Very simple, but so difficulate to put into practice.
I have played a few Church Bingo cards in my time, without success I might add, and tried my luck at a casino or two – but the bug never got to me.
That said, I think the ‘Tournament’ style of Texas Hold Em is actually an interesting form of Entertainment (one buy in per person gets the same amount of chips as all, so you can’t raid the cash machine to get back in the game), and besides – we don’t go to the theater or concert for free either,
BTW – many casinos also provide ‘free alcohol’, because they really like you. Ahem.
Anywayyyy…. While personally disliking a term based on Christopher Columbus not knowing where he landed – ‘Indian’ (covering All tribes) has become the generic word for Casino’s built on Sovereign Tribal Land.. Often this land is the result of a Treaty between Sovereigns – which makes for interesting DUI Cases when Tribal Members are arrested on Federal Highways by State Troopers driving inside Reservation boundaries…
‘Indian Casinos are Sometimes refereed to the as ‘The New / or Golden Buffalo’; for the changes they have created in some of the most formally blighted patches of ground around. Those are Not the only changes however.
With Money comes much baggage, and of course the nagging question of Control and who gets how much for what ‘reason’. This is particularly true in Tribes where questions of Membership sometimes mimic the homo-nazi ‘racial purity’ laws in Ernst Rohm’s Germany…
Full, Half, Quarter Eight… are normally terms not normally associated with people; save for traditional punishments like being ‘drawn and quartered’ – but as far as “Blood” is concerned, such distinctions provide much fodder for Deciding Tribal ‘Membership’ – and thus a stake in the loot.
When I was in Idaho I read a story about the devastating effect of “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” on tribal pregnancies, and the long term consequences – sometimes fueled by casino money doled out to all as part of the deal.
Sup with the Devil and there will never be any Spoon long enough to stay clean.