The Bible says that Jesus condemned gambling, but I notice that so many parishes have them at festivals and other events. What’s correct?
Answer: Although Jesus speaks of our relationship with material wealth and the very human struggle with greed, the gospels do not include any specific instructions related to gambling. At the same time, the Church is very sensitive to the needs of those who might struggle with an addiction to gambling, and pastoral care should always be offered to those who struggle with this reality in their life.
While it is true that many parish or school communities include gambling or games of chance in festivals and fundraisers (e.g. bingo, roulette, ring tossing, dunking booths, etc.), there is nothing inherently wrong these sorts of events, given they are played fairly and within the limits of reason are not morally objectionable. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us: “Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others” (no. 2413).
As in all things, moderation and a sense of healthy limits should be applied to gambling and games of chance. For those who find themselves living with addiction to gambling, help is available in various 12-step and addiction recovery programs.