In the eastern hemisphere, some high-level ecclesiastical musings on gambling. First, in Sri Lanka, religious opposition failed to derail legislation permitting one to risk one’s money in games of chance. Colombo archbishop Malcolm Ranjith (formerly of the CDWDS) didn’t mince words:
Gaming is against all religious principles.
Australia’s best-known prelate muses on the intersection of sin and gambling. Quoted at an ethics forum when asked about poker machines at some Catholic clubs:
I must confess I do feel a bit uneasy about that, but only a bit uneasy. Because culturally I’m an Irish Australian and we grew up gambling.
Another bit from the Sydney Morning Herald piece got my attention:
Gambling in itself was not intrinsically wrong, he said. Only when it became an addiction, threatening the well-being of oneself and one’s family, did it become a sin.
Addiction is a powerful aspect of human behavior. One might say that the addict is in less control of her or his moral faculties than a non-addict. In a way, an all-out addict is less culpable once the gambling has taken over the brain. No doubt, however, that addicts cause a lot more self-harm and collateral damage when their illness is in full flower.
Anyone out there know of what the current thinking on addiction and moral culpability might be? What are the moral theologians saying? And if you were Cardinal Pell’s expert on moral theology and ethics, what might you tell him?