Friday, August 11, 2006

Bingo, begone!

The Catholic bishop of Calgary, Alberta in Canada, Fred Henry, is turning the screws on parishes and Catholic schools that use bingo and casino nights as fundraisers, demanding that they seek alternative methods of raising cash. Henry has been more in the news lately for his strident opposition to same-sex marriage in Canada.

"The end doesn't justify the means. It is morally wrong for a Catholic school, club, society or parish to co-operate with an industry exploiting the weak and the vulnerable," said Henry, according to an article in the Calgary Sun. "We simply can't do it." He vowed increase pressure on institutions that don't get in line, though he didn't initially mention breaking their kneecaps.

Well, though I don't have much use for Henry's standard arguments against the civil rights of gay and lesbian people in Canada--he claims the goal of gays who want to marry is to "acquire a powerful psychological weapon to change society's rejection of homosexual activity and lifestyle into gradual, even if reluctant, acceptance"--I think he's right on this one. We Catholics may not be against gambling as such, but using it to fund our ministries is at least a little shady, given how ruinous gambling has been for many.

Which just goes to show how it's possible for Catholics (at least this one) to disagree on one issue but agree on others. Though I don't think the Knights of Columbus (see a couple of posts ago), who I'm sure run a couple of parish gambling operations themselves, would agree with me on either point.

Oh well. It's a big tent. Definitely large enough for all that Columbian plumage.