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CBCP STATEMENT ON GAMBLING

In the past few days some writers and politicians have attacked the integrity and credibility of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) with regard to gambling. In view of this the CBCP issues the following statement:

    We categorically deny that the CBCP as a body has ever solicited or knowingly received funds from illegal gamblers. We express great sorrow if individual religious leaders and/or religious institutions had solicited funds for charitable purposes from public monies gained from legal gambling. But as pastors who deeply care for the poor, we would be the first not to judge their consciences on this matter. For it is most unfortunate that in our situation of poverty today public funds gained from legal gambling are often the only resource for the poor to be assisted adequately. Even if this were so, the CBCP does not encourage this manner of helping the poor. It could easily be construed as approving and promoting the culture of gambling and thereby scandalize the faithful.

To inform the public better about the reasons for this CBCP position, we present the following moral teachings and pastoral imperatives:

  1. The Catholic Church teaches that “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. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2413). This moral teaching does not prohibit some forms of gambling in certain situations. In consequence, it does not prohibit people or institutions, even church-related ones, from receiving benefits from such gambling.
     
  2. However, applying the general moral principle to the specific Philippine situation, the CBCP has deemed it necessary to state on several occasions that the form of gambling that is organized, widespread, and systemic, whether legal or illegal, is not desirable. It is creating a culture of gambling that is seriously eroding the moral values of our people. In its illegal form, especially jueteng, gambling has bred a clandestine network of corruption that feeds itself on the hundreds of millions of pesos lost to gambling especially by the poor.
     
  3. Therefore, the CBCP has made it a collective policy:
     
    • To denounce illegal gambling in all its forms and prevent its legalization;
    • To combat the expansion of organized and systemic legal gambling;
    • To refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from illegal and legal gambling so as not to promote a culture of gambling; and
    • To encourage church personnel and church institutions to refrain from doing the same, even when the objective may be that of helping the poor.
       

Today the CBCP renews its commitment to combat the growing culture of gambling in our country by faithfully adhering to the policy its members had collectively agreed upon.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines:

 

+FERNANDO R. CAPALLA, D.D.
Archbishop of Davao
President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines

January 23, 2005

 

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