MonteCarlo Night

Every year our parish has what they call “MonteCarlo Night” to raise money for the school. In essence you buy chips to gamble with and have a chance to win a free trip to LasVegas. It’s replete with gambling hall attire, free flowing booze etc. It is also advertised in our small town local paper.
I personally find it an embarassing witness to our church and our faith. I can’t help but wander what folks of other faiths are thinking about our church when they see this.
Am I off the wall on this? Anxious to hear others’ opinions.

The same thing takes place at a parish I sometimes attend.
It is pretty embarrassing and a bad witness about what donating and charity is all about.

Some years ago, in another diocese, my daughter’s Catholic school had a Monte Carlo afternoon, on Sunday, after Mass, with cards and booze. Fortunately, it bombed. The whole thing was totally inappropriate.

The diocese I am in now simply recruits parishioners to make a monthly donation to support the school and it is highly successful.

Monte Carlo nights are a good witness to our Faith. We are Catholics, not Puritans. In a society with a large puritanical element, it is important to show that part of being a follower of Jesus Christ is having fun.

It is also important to show what Catholics values are not and what Catholic values are.

Catholicism does not consist of refraining from smoking, drinking, and gambling. There is nothing wrong with smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, gambling if one can afford it, and in general having a good time.

Catholicism consists in loving God above all else, and loving our neighbor as our selves. A good Catholic is someone who attends Mass, is charitable towards his neighbor and who refrains from lying, cheating, stealing, murdering, committing adultery, gossiping, etc.

Catholicism does not consider gambling or drinking intrinsically evil of itself. After all, the parish is NOT sponsoring such activities as “Gay Honeymoon Night” or even those underwear parties held in some women’s homes.

Now then- If a person has a problem with alcohol, that person should not drink. If a person has a problem with gambling, that person should not gamble. It’s like a kid with an allergic reaction, say to peanut butter. Some schools take the whole thing to the point where the schools block ANY children from bringing peanut butter. Most schools have the common sense to simply have a peanut free area. If a grown-up knows something is not good for him or her, then he or she should refrain from such places. However, most grown-ups do not have an alcohol or gambling problem, and can be expected to behave themselves in an appropriate manner.

Another aspect to consider is “fun”. It is fun to gamble. It is fun to loosen up with a cocktail or two among friends. And the parish community should be friends, or at least good acquaintances. While the Mass is lovely, we can’t attend them 24/7. Fun is allowed. Recreation is even allowed in the convent and monastery- as a little wine and alcohol now and then.

My personal favorite parish activities are Boy Scout meals (pancake breakfast, spaghetti dinner). These often involve raffles and “split the pot”. I am also fond of Ladies’ Night, which includes limited alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, malt products). The local KCs sponsor a chicken dinner and fish fries, and they can include beer.

Finally, if such a thing troubles a person so much, perhaps a non-nagging committee could present a realistic stewardship fundamentals program in the parish. Then, there would be no need for fund raisers, as everybody would contribute to the parish.

I have to agree with those who are pointing out that drinking and gambling are not wrong in and of themselves. So the main problem with the even would be if “free flowing booze” meant excessive drinking and “gambling hall attire” meant immodest dress.

While not forbidden by the nature of the act itself, though, the parish should be open to criticisms and counter-proposals based on the possibly negative image the event could portray to the wider community for which it is advertised. WE may know such things are above-board, but our otherwise licit actions still might hamper evangelization in certain circumstances or, as St. Paul would point out, lead weaker brethren to sin where we do not. I’m not saying, “We should never drink or gamble because our society is filled with people who think Christians can’t do these things,” but I’m also not saying we should dismiss all worries since we know there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the concept.

I would agree with you if there was some clarification on the part of “free flowing booze” and “gambling hall attire”. Are we talking pouring shots directly into one’s mouth while reclining in a laz-e-boy? (I don’t know what they call this, only heard about it, as it was a practice before my time.) “Shooter” games? Shotgunning beers? Strip poker? The faculty of the school attired in g-strings and pasties (?Spelling)?

I was more of the mind “free flowing booze” was within the specifications of the liquor license obtained by the parish and the dram shop laws of the state in question. They are served from a station set up to be a bar, with a bartender in traditional bartender dress, perhaps something more festive for the occassion to prompt people to part with their money, but certainly nothing immodest. “Gambling hall attire” to me is black trousers and vest with a white shirt and black bow tie, as most croupiers wear, perhaps made more festive with colored bow ties and 1890s straw hats.

I am reminded of my youth, where the parish high school parents’ club sponsored an adults-only Mardi Gras, themed. One year it was “Blue Hawaii”. The good sisters worked some of the booths, including Sister Agnita, who did bartender duty. The sisters wore their habits with plastic leis. it was quite a sight, I was told, by my mother, who attended with my father, aunt and uncle. They stayed out to the unbelievable hour of midnight, as Kup’s Show was on TV when they came home.

No one loves a good glass of wine or a cocktail better than I, but this school that had the Monte Carlo afternoon was in an area where about 90% of the people were Southern Baptists. This just puts fuel on the fire of anti-Catholicism in these areas. There are other ways to raise money for our Catholic schools. Where I live now a lot of money is raised without doing fund raisers that the rest of the Christian community might find offensive.

And in West Virginia you might be right.

But the OP lives in Central Costal Calfornia. I take that to mean anywhere between Petaluma to oh, about Monterey. The only people offened by wine in wine country are those not making money at some form of it. :wink:

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