Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
March 10, 2003
Government gambles on society
Quebec's new archbishop, Marc Ouellet, has linked the pathetically low rate of church attendance among the province's youth to the high suicide rate among the young. "Here, it is the young people who have the least hope," Ouellet told Catholic News Service.
The archbishop has made an important connection - those without faith in an eternally loving God who offers each of us an everlasting home with him are the least likely to find much of value in this life.
It is perhaps no coincidence that another recent report spoke of the rapid growth in addiction to gambling, especially VLTs, in Quebec and an alarming increase in the number of the province's youth experiencing gambling problems. If you have no hope, then you may as well try to get the instant gratification the video-lottery terminals - falsely - promise.
Quebec also has one of the highest divorce rates in Canada, even though it is the province where the most couples choose to avoid marriage altogether and live common law.
Again, no one is thinking of the effects on the young.
Basically, Quebec's young people are being blind-sided from all directions by a culture that is secular, hedonistic and amoral. Too many youth are voting "no" to such a culture by deciding life is not worth living.
Normally, governments would respond to what surely can be called a crisis by action, or, at least, study. But instead we find governments profiting from the very thing that is driving young people to take their lives and minimizing the role of the main institution - the Church - that could help solve the problem.
A recent email responder from Toronto to a CBC question about governments becoming dependent on gambling revenue hit the nail on the head. "The issue here is not one of personal liberty or personal choice. The issue is whether the government should ethically be involved with promoting activities that are known to be harmful and habit-forming. If our government has abandoned the concept of what is good for its citizens in exchange for what is solely good for the government - like Communist China - then it would be hypocritical of them, both federal and provincial, to argue they are seeking the betterment of society."
Of course, this is Quebec and we don't have these problems in Alberta. Nonsense! The secularization and decay of family life may not be as far along in Alberta as in Quebec, but we are moving in the same direction. A recent Canadian Press story reported Alberta recorded gambling in the files of 10 per cent of suicide victims in the province in the last few years. The actual percentage of cases where gambling was a factor may well be higher.
Efforts were made to brush this story aside after it ran on the front page of The Edmonton Journal. But we still must face the fact the Alberta government netted $625 million in gambling revenues in 2001, including $460 million from VLTs. Our problems are not dissimilar to those of Quebec: We have a government raking in big bucks from gambling and doing precious little to control the all-too-obvious deleterious effects of gambling on society.
Faith and family are now all too often seen as secondary "institutions" in society when, in fact, they are the two legs on which everything else must stand. Undermine the strength of those two legs and you will severely undermine the strength of the whole body.
The same CP report said that up to 1.5 million Canadians have moderate to severe gambling problems and that those problems are particularly pronounced among the young.
Here we have a civilization in the process of collapse and, rather than working to forestall that collapse, governments are aiding and abetting it.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.