Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 24, 2003
Collins warns of gambling as fundraising
By RENATO GANDIA
"If it's going to cause harm to people, they should stop."
- Archbishop Thomas Collins
Lotteries, raffles and bingo are some of the ways different groups raise funds.
The issue came up when Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry made a statement forbidding bingo as a form of fundraising for any Catholic organization in his diocese.
Collins wouldn't go that far. But he did say charitable groups have to look seriously at how they go about fundraising.
"We have to be careful about the methods we use. And even though it is a worthy cause, it does not make much sense to raise money for a worthy cause if in the course of doing it, it causes harm to people.
"And if it's going to cause harm to people, they should stop."
According to Catholic teaching, gambling itself is not always morally wrong. It can be a form of social entertainment, explained Collins.
"But the thing that is of concern, is that it is increasingly occupying a bigger and bigger portion of people's time, . . . drawing their money."
One reason that people use gambling to raise money is that it is a relatively quick and effective way of raising money.
The archbishop admits, "It is very difficult to find ways to raise money. Nonetheless, even if it is the easiest and quickest way to raise money if it's causing harm, we should not be doing it."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "Games of chance 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" (n. 2413).
In 1998, the Alberta bishops issued a statement, The False Eden of Gambling, calling on the government, various organizations and the people to seriously consider gambling's moral dimensions.
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