St. Francis de Sales: "Games of chance" sinful?


#1

Let me preface this by saying that the book I read this in, Introduction to the Devout Life, is a fantastic devotional book.

However, from Chapter 32 (catholicity.com/devoutlife/3-32.html) the following struck me as strange:

“Dice, cards, and the like games of hazard, are not merely dangerous amusements, like dancing, but they are plainly bad and harmful, and therefore they are forbidden by the civil as by the ecclesiastical law. What harm is there in them? you ask. Such games are unreasonable:–the winner often has neither skill nor industry to boast of, which is contrary to reason. You reply that this is understood by those who play. But though that may prove that you are not wronging anybody, it does not prove that the game is in accordance with reason, as victory ought to be the reward of skill or labour, which it cannot be in mere games of chance. Moreover, though such games may be called a recreation, and are intended as such, they are practically an intense occupation. Is it not an occupation, when a man’s mind is kept on the stretch of close attention, and disturbed by endless anxieties, fears and agitations? Who exercises a more dismal, painful attention than the gambler? No one must speak or laugh,–if you do but cough you will annoy him and his companions. The only pleasure in gambling is to win, and this cannot be a satisfactory pleasure, since it can only be enjoyed at the expense of your antagonist.”

St. Francis de Sales seems to not only reference gambling but also any game of chance as intrinsically evil. Is this really true? Is it evil to play a game of cards?


#2

I wonder if BINGO falls into this category?:wink:


#3

=Mike O]Let me preface this by saying that the book I read this in, Introduction to the Devout Life, is a fantastic devotional book.
However, from Chapter 32 (http://www.catholicity.com/devoutlife/3-32.html) the following struck me as strange:

“Dice, cards, and the like games of hazard, are not merely dangerous amusements, like dancing, but they are plainly bad and harmful, and therefore they are forbidden by
…Edited for Space - refer to original Post by Mike…
are practically an intense occupation. Is it not an occupation, when a man’s mind is kept on the stretch of close attention, and disturbed by endless anxieties, fears and agitations? Who exercises a more dismal, painful attention than the gambler? No one must speak or laugh,–if you do but cough you will annoy him and his companions. The only pleasure in gambling is to win, and this cannot be a satisfactory pleasure, since it can only be enjoyed at the expense of your antagonist.”

St. Francis de Sales seems to not only reference gambling but also any game of chance as intrinsically evil. Is this really true? Is it evil to play a game of cards?

Hi there Mike…here, I tend to think, is the core of the entire matter:

disturbed by endless anxieties, fears and agitations

…and taken from your quote from St. Francis.

Games of chance played for the sheer amusement and fun (play) are not at all harmful…rather to play them with anxiety, fear and agitation…as a serious, though quite neurotic it seems to me, gambler may…or a person who is playing with an inordinate desire to win and equally inordinate fear of loosing.
Nothing (within reason of course!) is profane…it is the attitude and perspective that we bring to matters that introduce moral rightness or not.

As I see things, Mike…regards, Barb


#4

[quote=Karin]I wonder if BINGO falls into this category?:wink:
[/quote]

Good point Karin:) …I am sure many Catholic Parishes would loose some funding and an opportunity for parishioners and others to get together for a thoroughly enjoyable evening and much fun and laughter, if there was some moral demand to abandon Bingo…which to my knowledge anyway there is not…if indeed a person joins in a Bingo evening with:

disturbed by endless anxieties, fears and agitations

…then the moral problem is with the person(s) not the Bingo game per se.

Good post and concise and hitting a valid point methinks, Karin!

Barb:yup:


#5

[quote=Mike O]Let me preface this by saying that the book I read this in, Introduction to the Devout Life, is a fantastic devotional book.

However, from Chapter 32 (catholicity.com/devoutlife/3-32.html) the following struck me as strange:

“Dice, cards, and the like games of hazard, are not merely dangerous amusements, like dancing, but they are plainly bad and harmful, and therefore they are forbidden by the civil as by the ecclesiastical law. What harm is there in them? you ask. Such games are unreasonable:–the winner often has neither skill nor industry to boast of, which is contrary to reason. You reply that this is understood by those who play. But though that may prove that you are not wronging anybody, it does not prove that the game is in accordance with reason, as victory ought to be the reward of skill or labour, which it cannot be in mere games of chance. Moreover, though such games may be called a recreation, and are intended as such, they are practically an intense occupation. Is it not an occupation, when a man’s mind is kept on the stretch of close attention, and disturbed by endless anxieties, fears and agitations? Who exercises a more dismal, painful attention than the gambler? No one must speak or laugh,–if you do but cough you will annoy him and his companions. The only pleasure in gambling is to win, and this cannot be a satisfactory pleasure, since it can only be enjoyed at the expense of your antagonist.”

St. Francis de Sales seems to not only reference gambling but also any game of chance as intrinsically evil. Is this really true? Is it evil to play a game of cards?
[/quote]

It is permissible as long as no money is involved; apart from that, it is always evil to do so - nothing more clearly shows the wretched state of a chirch than that it should allows these wicked activities on Church premises; to do so, is to mislead the very people who should, by the Will of Christ, be taught what is health-giving, and true, and fosters the love of God.

These activities foster nothing but impiety, avarice, contentiousness, envy, hatred, selfishness…they are an inexhaustible torrent of every kind of evil. It is a terrible blindness, and a heavy judgement, and proof of the great anger of God, when a church cannot see this. Such activities make churches into sources of the very thing which they exist to counter. Church-sponsored gambling is nothing less than a form of spiritual AIDS. ##


#6

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