Friday, March 09, 2007

The possible enslavement of gambling

There are many things which can potentially enslave people, including alcohol, sex, drugs, and gambling. Many who gamble lose their cars, homes, and even livelihoods, and in the worst case scenarios lead to suicide by those who cannot cope with this. So, what does the Catholic Church have to say about all this? Don't Catholic Churches hold bingos and garden parties where gambling occurs? Yes. So, is this contradictory to its teaching, even hypocritical? The answer is no.

The Catholic Church does not ban all games of chance, only ones which can be harmful to those playing, or affect others in a negative way. Here's what the catechism officially states:

Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.

So, go ahead and have a little bit of fun, but be very cautious. Make sure you pre-set a limit of how much you plan on spending on these games before you start.

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