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Bishop: Calgary's Catholic Groups Ought to Cut Gambling Ties

17 March 2003

CALGARY, Alberta – As reported by the Calgary Herald: "All Catholic organizations in Calgary -- including schools, parishes and service clubs -- should end fundraising through bingos and casinos because they are supporting an unhealthy and evil gambling pursuit, says Bishop Fred Henry.

"Henry has long maintained casinos and VLTs should not be sources of revenue for churches, but he has now added bingo -- a traditional form of raising funds for many Catholic groups -- to that list.

"…He said the new reality of bingo is that its glamour has taken it away from a recreational and social experience and moved it into the growing culture of gambling.

"`We're dominated by the spirit of greed,' said Henry. `The amount of money spent is secondary to the thrill of gambling and the prospect of winning.'

"…Henry said that only two parishes out of 67 in the Calgary diocese today rely on bingos for operating revenues -- Our Lady of Grace Italian and English Church and Croatian Parish.

"He will give those parishes three years to wean themselves from using bingos to generate money for operating budgets.

"…Judy MacKay, superintendent of instructional services for the Calgary Catholic School District, said the separate school system is aligned with the bishop.

"She said the district is `sympathetic and supportive and understanding of the bishop's position.'

"…However, for some schools these fundraisers are the only way for them to generate money…"

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