Archbishop Jose Cabantan of Cagayan de Oro bewailed what he described as the “clandestine construction” of a casino in the archdiocese.
He said the people were caught by surprise when a casino opened in Misamis Oriental province’s Opol town last week.
“We deplore the opening of the said gambling den as it is contrary to the values we hold and celebrate this Christmas,” Archbishop Cabantan said in a statement released Tuesday, December 28.
The archbishop also asked if a public consultation had been carried out for the casino operation. “There were questions as to who gave the clearance,” he said.
“We oppose the operation of a gambling institution even if it is legal and much more since its clandestinely constructed in the archdiocese,” the church official added.
The archdiocese’s fight against gambling can be traced back to the early 1990s when the late Archbishop Jesus Tuquib rallied successfully against the plan to put up a casino in the city.
Retired Archbishop Antonio Ledesma also reiterated the stand in 2017 after a proposal was floated again for a new gaming site in the archdiocese.
Saying that the Church is against all forms of corruption, Archbishop Cabantan said allowing a casino results in another form of corruption— “the corruption of family values which are inherently Gospel values.”
“Whatever economic development or revenues may derive from this if there are any, at the cost of the destruction of families is not and will never be justifiable,” he said.
The archbishop also denounced the proliferation of internet gambling such as online cockfighting, saying that “countless individuals and families have been damaged because of this.”
He then appealed to government officials to act in favor of the families and the common good.
“We cannot allow another form of addiction such as gambling to proliferate in our society. We have enough of all these,” Archbishop Cabantan said.
Addressing the clergy, the religious and the laity in the archdiocese, he urged them to refrain from soliciting or receiving funds from all forms of gambling “so as not to promote a culture of gambling”.
He also asked parishes and church organizations to organize and discern a “common action” against the proliferation “of a culture of death brought about by the culture of gambling.”