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Gambling Not Evil, Says Catholic Archbishop

As the debate on gambling heats up in preparation for a national referendum the head of the Roman Catholic Church Archbishop Patrick Pinder says the act in and of itself is not “inherently evil.”

In fact, the archbishop said yesterday that his church will not tell its members how to vote in the upcoming referendum. But, he says the church will not support its legalisation.

“The Catholic tradition recognises that while gambling is not inherently evil, there is the tendency of human nature to go to excess and to extremes,” he said.

While the government has promised to hold a referendum before the end of the year, Archbishop Pinder told reporters yesterday that the church’s task is to assist its membership by providing information so that they can make informed decisions.

“We don’t tell our members to vote one way or the other. We don’t do that. We assist them in forming their consciousness . . . [so that they] vote in the way they think is right.”

The contentious gambling issue has created a rift in the Christian community – something Archbishop Pinder shied away from commenting on.

It was back in May of 2010 when Archbishop Patrick Pinder first issued a statement on his church’s stance on the divisive issue.

At the time he said he does not support a change in the current law, which would allow gambling to be legalised.

While the discussion continues to intensify, Archbishop Patrick Pinder admitted that there a number of issues related to the legalisation of gambling.

But he said at the core, is the fact that there is a law in place that prohibits gambling, which is “wholesale disregarded.”

“Public authority cannot tolerate the wholesale disregard for the law, which in fact is happening,” Archbishop Pinder said.

He noted that the primary upholder of the law is not the police, the courts or the prison system, but rather the average citizen in their proper demeanour as citizens.

“We have a situation where many of our average citizens are simply acting in total and complete disregard for the law. That’s something that should be a concern for us as citizens, no matter what our view on gambling is,” he said.

Meantime Archbishop Pinder added that he is in the process of preparing a follow up to his initial statement.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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