Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Because they are not sinful and immoral in themselves. They can be made the occasion of sin, as when a passion for gambling leads a man to spend money which is not his own, or which is necessary for the upkeep of wife or children, or to pay his lawful debts. But if one can honestly afford it, he is free to invest in lotteries, or to indulge in the amusement of a wager, unless he is violating a law of the state.
Nowhere does the law of God forbid gambling, provided no fraud, deceit, or injustice enters into it. If all is conducted fairly, and an investor keeps within his means, a man is free to purchase a proportionate chance of winning a bet or a lottery without offending God's laws in any way. But if a law of the state forbids gambling, such a law must be obeyed.
When Christ expelled the money-changers, and the buyers and sellers from the Temple, their crime was not gambling. Their crime was the conducting of secular business in such a place, and their own dishonesty in charging exorbitant prices for goods and exchange. But gambling as such was not involved in this matter.
If it be dishonest to invest $1 in order to secure a chance of winning $5,000, which may or may not be obtained, then it is equally dishonest to invest one's railway fare in order to secure a chance of discovering a possible nugget of gold, which may or may not exist, on some distant gold field. Every investment on the Stock Exchange, or for that matter every insurance policy, is an investment of money the return from which depends upon an element of chance.
There is nothing wrong with seeking personal gain. We are free to use our faculties and possessions in order to secure personal gain, unless justice or charity is violated. We are not free to do so by dishonest means; but gambling is not in itself dishonest. There is nothing wrong with gaining through another's loss when that other is quite willing to endure the loss and is in a position to meet the loss without violating his obligations to himself or others. Every gift you receive is a loss to the giver of the value spent on the gift. Meantime an adequate return is made to the investor in a gamble or a bet who happens to lose. The actual winner offered his partner or partners in the transaction an equal chance of gaining the contribution he himself invested. The losers had their proportionate opportunity, and were satisfied with the pleasurable risk afforded them. They were perfectly willing to take the risk, and nothing was taken from them against their reasonable will. That the transaction added nothing to the common wealth is not a factor affecting morality. Otherwise it would be immoral for you to give ten dollars to a beggar, for nothing would be added to the common wealth by that action.
That is not true. No man has the right to alienate his life. Men have got the right to alienate their goods. And gambling is not stealing. If I take from Brown a dollar belonging to Brown against his will, I steal. But if we mutually agree to each putting a dollar in a hat and drawing lots as to which of us shall have the two dollars, we are not offending. We own our own money, and we can choose to renounce our possible possession of it in exchange for a lawful chance of winning the prize. I am willing that if he wins he shall have my dollar. He is willing that if I win I shall have his. There is no question of stealing from each other.
That is a contradiction in terms. If a man freely consents to my receiving his property, he is not being robbed. Imagine a man taking me to a law court on a charge of stealing his money, and there admitting that he freely consented to my having it!
You have seen young men ruined through their own lack of prudence and lonesty. Excess and dishonesty are absolutely to be condemned. I speak as strongly is you against such things, and not for a moment does the Catholic Church sanction iuch sin. But if a man sinfully invests money in betting or in lotteries, money vhich he is obliged to use for the payment of just debts, or if he steals the money >f others in order to so invest it, the fault lies in his personal dishonesty, not in any lishonesty of the lottery itself. The same type of man might also spend money on i motor car, neglecting to pay what he owes the butcher. You are allotting the Iishoncsty in the wrong place, transferring the innate dishonesty of an unjustified >articipant to the lottery itself.
Good. And I would be as willing that the other should have my contribution hould he win, as he would be willing that I should have his in the event of my finning. You overlook the element of free contract.