Pastoral Statement on Gambling
We believe that God Almighty created man according to His likeness and saved him from eternal damnation by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We believe that human work has been sanctified by Jesus Christ the worker and that human labor can sanctify humankind.
We believe in the right of all human beings to leisure and recreation within the bounds of Christian justice and charity.
We acknowledge the separation of Church and State and uphold the right and duty of the State to pursue the common good, to promote the welfare of the poor and to provide equal opportunities of advancement for all.
We believe that an honest and just society is possible through the grace of God and the obedience of all peoples to the Ten Commandments.
Because we believe these truths and uphold these principles,
1. We reject the culture of gambling as a means of livelihood. Gambling is addictive. Gambling corrupts the gambler and the operator. Gambling exploits and diminishes human dignity. Gambling destroys peoples. Gambling kills.
2. We reject the promotion of the small town lottery as the means to stop illegal gambling. A government that promotes gambling is a morally corrupt government. Corruption is not just about bribes and graft. Corruption is an attitude that started as an uncorrected bad habit. Gambling started as a small fire. Because we ignored it, this fire has now grown enough to burn our whole nation to ashes. The small town lottery is added fuel to the fire.
3. We reject the scheme of the small town lottery to give local officials and police officers percentage shares in the revenue of the lottery. This scheme will breed greater moral evils in government service. This scheme is unfair to the poor bettors. This scheme is deceptive.
As we reject the culture of gambling, we also extend our hands of cooperation to our government officials in the pursuit of progress and development.
- Instead of allowing sugarcoated jueteng in our province, we invite government to partner with the Church and other NGO’s to promote livelihood programs for the poor and provide family oriented values education especially on the dignity of labor and the primacy of honesty in private and social life. It has been done with success. It is being done. We can do it together.
- Instead of allowing the cheap and easy alternative of small town lottery, I invite government to sustain micro financing programs that are already in place in many parts of Pangasinan. This is the long and tedious but sure way to arrest the growth of a gambling culture.
- Instead of denying the presence of illegal gambling, let government truthfully accept its presence, humbly accept its failure to stop it and resolve now in cooperation with all peoples of good will, with utmost political will, to restore integrity in public life.
We believe in the beauty and goodness of all. We reject corruption and laziness as against the values we stand for.
We extend our hands for cooperation. If they refuse our offer of help, we will fight without relent.
From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, November 13, 2010.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan