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Toronto cardinal warns of dangers of gambling

April 30, 2013

As Toronto city council members debate whether to approve a major new casino, Cardinal Thomas Collins has issued a pastoral letter warning of the “grievous suffering experienced by individuals and families because of gambling dependence.”

“Gambling is inherently based on illusion – on promoting the fantasy, particularly attractive to the most vulnerable and the most desperate, that it is an easy way to provide a quick solution to the financial problems that they face,” he wrote. “That is a cruel illusion, and it is not wholesome for governments to promote it, especially through extensive advertising.”

Cardinal Collins added:

Occasional and small-scale gambling can be a legitimate form of entertainment, and is not inherently evil. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the section relating to respect for persons and their goods, states that games of chance or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice, but become morally unacceptable when these activities deprive people of what is necessary to provide for their needs and those of others. That, unfortunately, is what happens far too often. The Catechism also notes the power of gambling to enslave. Individuals, and the government, and charitable organizations as well can become enslaved by the lure of easy gambling revenue, and that is clearly not healthy.


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