Canadian Cardinal warns of 'false Eden' of gambling

2013-04-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Over recent years the Bishops of Canada have expressed their concerns about society's growing dependence on gambling, given the potential risks this can involve for the community and individual persons.

As the City of Toronto considers whether to build a new and larger casino, Cardinal Thomas Collins has released a pastoral letter on Gambling, Gaming and Casinos for the people of his Archdiocese. The full text of that letter is available on the website of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cardinal Collins spoke with Vatican Radio about his concerns about increased legalised gambling. Although he says gambling itself is not inherently evil, Cardinal Collins notes the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly points out the problems that can arise from widespread gambling.

“First of all, it can lead to injustice,” he says. “There are numerous issues where people gamble away the grocery money and cause distress in their families.”

A related problem is addiction. “The second point the Catechism mentions, which I’m also concerned about is that gambling is addictive. It can enslave us.” But, Cardinal Collins says, gambling is not just addictive for gamblers. “We always think about the gambler being enslaved, but actually governments can be enslaved. They get a lot of money out of gambling, the taxing of the gambling, that’s why they’re promoting it.”

The Church, too, says Cardinal Collins, can be enslaved to gambling, when it becomes overly dependent on gambling, without being sufficiently aware of the problems gambling causes.

These are some of the many reasons, says Cardinal Collins, “why gambling just doesn’t make for a wholesome community.”

Listen to the full interview of Cardinal Thomas Collins with Christopher Wells: