Instead of excusing the players from culpability when they so obviously are all in on this together – and are a direct part of this problem – concerned people should rather tell these people to stop playing and supporting these evil, vain and useless matches and sports-teams that promotes such evil, soul slaying activities. 5. If you don’t enjoy any of the above mentioned things that are evil, then there is no reason for why you would even want to watch professional sports at all, or care that much about it. For if one considers this matter seriously, that is, that those people who take part in pro-sports activities are totally deceived by their vanity, vainglory, pride, fame, and by the praise and idolization of themselves by other weak human beings, then one would mourn for their sake rather than seek a useless, unprofitable enjoyment from them. For why would anyone want to enjoy people commit or support mortal sin and worldliness or be happy about that they are totally deceived by the world and that they are headed for Hell? It is totally evil.
Indeed, the enjoyment derived from such pro-sports games is completely useless anyway. One doesn’t even learn anything from it as one does from watching a documentary, an educational program or a good Christian film. And that is why some media can be excused while pro-sports that have any sin connected to it must be avoided. All one learns from pro-sport today essentially consists in this: vainglory, pride, vanity and lasciviousness (from the cheerleaders); bad, ungodly, sensual, superfluous and vain commercials; idolization and praise of weak human beings; and useless cares and worries for certain teams or players that will not help a person one bit in any way to get to Heaven, and what is worse, one may even start to secretly idolize or like them and what they do (and this last point undoubtedly often happens if one frequently watch or follows this useless activity).
Indeed, St. Francis de Sales’ words about the evil occupation of gambling applies perfectly to those who take vain pleasure in pro-sports matches, games and teams:
“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 [person obsessed by his beloved sports team, player, or superstar]? No one must speak [against them, their team, or idols] or laugh [or defeat them],—if you do but cough you will annoy [or sadden] him and his companions. The only pleasure in [these games] 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, writing “On Gambling”, but this could as well have been written directly with pro-sports in mind!)
All of this will thus lead to that one will become sad or happy based on the fact whether or not those whom one favoredlost or won; and this is totally evil since this means one enjoys their deeds in their worldliness and ungodly lifestyle that is leading them to Hell. One is thus becoming worried, happy or sad about all of this – the evil they do and the deceived, unhappy lifestyle they lead – and the sadness, anxiety or attention about what they do in this case is not even about the right thing (that is, for their spiritual blindness and that they are deceived and are headed for Hell) but rather about the evil attachment for a vain pleasure and because one’s self-love was hurt; and because they lost a useless game – and because one cares for all of this! It is totally evil, useless and vain. 6. It is evil to be happy about musicians, sports players or other people living an ungodly lifestyle just because one likes what they do, and in this way, enjoy what they do. For example, it is evil to want Madonna to continue making music because she is committing mortal sin while she is doing so. One can enjoy a lawful moral song, but one cannot enjoy mortal sin or venial sin being committed or be happy about them or that their life is such; nor can one want them to continue in such a state or career or have a mindset to be obsessed by such (as many people sadly are today by being totally obsessed with pro-sports, players, artists, actors, musicians, and so called “superstars”). And even if one likes the song (a moral, lawful song), one must be sad and mournful for the person’s soul and spiritual state when thinking about their spiritual state, and wish that they will stop doing whatever they are doing that are leading them to Hell.
Objection: “Even if cheerleaders is wrong, modest gambling is not wrong, nor is it a sin. Neither does the Church forbid it. And one cannot really say that watching sports would be wrong because it supports gambling.”
7. Several councils as well as saints and holy people in addition to tradition have condemned and disapproved of gambling since the very beginning (as we will see below). Therefore, it is clear that God and the Church condemned and still condemns these activities as evil and forbidden.
So since the players get a paycheck for directly supporting evil and forbidden activities against the Church’s laws—such as gambling—as well as the cheerleaders—it is utterly unlawful, condemned and sinful to watch these sinful games and find enjoyment in them. Again, since all their pro-sport matches revolves around supporting and promoting condemned activities, mortal sins and non-necessities, it is clearly sinful and evil to watch and find enjoyment in their criminal activities.
SOME QUOTES CONDEMNING GAMBLING
Council of Elvira, Canon 79 (A.D. 306): “Christians who play dice for money are to be excluded from receiving communion. If they amend their ways and cease, they may receive communion after one year.”
Apostolic Constitutions of the Holy Apostles, Canon 42: “Let a bishop, or presbyter, or deacon who indulges himself in dice or drinking, either leave off those practices, or let him be deprived.” Canon 43: “If a sub-deacon, a reader, or a singer does the like, either let him leave off, or let him be suspended; and so for one of the laity.” (The Apostolic Constitutions, Treatises on Early Christian Discipline)
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.), who is regarded as one of the most important Doctors of the Church, writes the following concerning the above two canons: “We read in the Canons of the apostles (Can. xli, xlii): ‘A bishop, priest or deacon who is given to drunkenness or gambling, or incites others thereto, must either cease or be deposed; a subdeacon, reader or precentor who does these things must either give them up or be excommunicated; the same applies to the laity.’ Now such punishments are not inflicted save for mortal sins. Therefore drunkenness [and gambling] is a mortal sin.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Second Part of the Second Part, Q. 150, A. II. Whether drunkenness is a mortal sin?)
St. Clement of Alexandria, echoing the Church’s constant tradition from the beginning against gambling, and the pursuit of gain caused by the evil desire for riches “apart from the truth”, wrote in the second century A.D.: “The game of dice is to be prohibited, and the pursuit of gain, especially by dicing [and other such games of gambling], which many keenly follow. Such things the prodigality of luxury invents for the idle. For the cause is idleness, and a love for frivolities apart from the truth. For it is not possible otherwise to obtain enjoyment without injury; and each man’s preference of a mode of life is a counterpart of his disposition.” (Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 2, p. 485)
The venerated Dominican friar and preacher Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) expounds on gambling and related activities at some length, but more frequently inveighs against the corrupt manners of the age, denouncing in turn every vice that was then prevalent. This, for instance, is how he speaks against gambling: “If you see persons engaged in gambling in these days, believe them to be no Christians, since they are worse than infidels, are ministers of the evil one, and celebrate his rites. They are avaricious men, blasphemers, slanderers, detractors of others’ fame, fault-finders, they are hateful to God, are thieves, murderers, and full of all iniquity. I cannot permit ye to share in these amusements; ye must be steadfast in prayer, continually rendering thanks to the Almighty in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. He that gambles shall be accursed, and accursed he that suffers others to gamble; shun ye their conversation, for the father that gambles before his son shall be accursed, and accursed the mother that gambles in her daughter’s presence. Therefore, whoever thou art, thou shalt be accursed if thou dost gamble or allow others to gamble;” (Life and Times of Girolamo Savonarola, chapter VIII, p. 105)
The Catholic Encyclopedia adds that: “From very early times gambling was forbidden by canon law. Two of the oldest (41, 42) among the so-called canons of the Apostles forbade games of chance under pain of excommunication to clergy and laity alike. The 79th canon of the Council of Elvira (306) decreed that one of the faithful who had been guilty of gambling might be, on amendment, restored to communion after the lapse of a year. A homily (the famous "De Aleatoribus") long ascribed by St. Cyprian, but by modern scholars variously attributed to Popes Victor I, Callistus I, and Melchiades, and which undoubtedly is a very early and interesting monument of Christian antiquity, is a vigorous denunciation of gambling. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215), by a decree subsequently inserted in the "Corpus Juris", forbade clerics to play or to be present at games of chance. Some authorities, such as Aubespine, have attempted to explain the severity of the ancient canons against gambling by supposing that idolatry was often connected with it in practice. The pieces that were played with were small-sized idols, or images of the gods, which were invoked by the players for good luck. However, as Benedict XIV remarks, this can hardly be true, as in that case the penalties would have been still more severe.” [Notice how a modernistic scholar tried to explain away the ancient Church teaching against gambling. However, this false theory of him (and of others like him) was of course refuted by Pope Benedict XIV]. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, "Gambling", A.D. 1909)
Wikipedia relates a little history of gambling and says the following concerning this evil activity: “Though lotteries were common in the United States and some other countries during the 19th century, by the beginning of the 20th century, most forms of gambling, including lotteries and sweepstakes, were illegal in the U.S. and most of Europe as well as many other countries.”
St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church, in the section “Of Forbidden Amusements” in his book Introduction to the Devout Life, clearly shows us the inherent evil, unlawfulness and unreasonableness of gambling and how both civil and ecclesiastical law outlawed gambling in the past: “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 [thus showing us that Catholic states banned or outlawed gambling totally]. 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. Once, when he was very ill, St. Louis [IX, King of France] heard that his brother the Comte d’Anjou and Messire Gautier de Nemours were gambling, and in spite of his weakness the King tottered into the room where they were, and threw dice and money and everything out of the window, in great indignation. And the pure and pious Sara, in her appeal to God, declared that she had never had dealings with gamblers. "I beg, O Lord, that thou loose me from the bond of this reproach, or else take me away from the earth. Thou knowest, O Lord, that I never coveted a husband, and have kept my soul clean from all lust. Never have I joined myself with them that play: neither have I made myself partaker with them that walk in lightness" [Tobias 3:15-17].” (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Chapter XXXII, Of Forbidden Amusements)
St. Francis de Sales also explains that we must confess all our motives in Confession when we have sinned, and he mentions gambling as a sin: “Again, do not be satisfied with mentioning the bare fact of your venial sins, but accuse yourself of the motive cause which led to them. For instance, do not be content with saying that you told an untruth which injured no one; but say whether it was out of vanity, in order to win praise or avoid blame, out of heedlessness, or from obstinacy. If you have exceeded in society, say whether it was from the love of talking, or gambling for the sake of money, and so on.” (St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, p. 63)
As with the use of alcohol, gambling can soon get out of hand and even become addictive, and this type of problem definitely has moral and religious overtones. An English proverb says, “The best throw of the dice is to throw them away” — and in light of the harm gambling can cause to one’s career, family life, and other relationships, such an approach is of course the wisest one. The examples from the lives of the saints that address this issue suggest a need for great prudence and restraint when gambling is involved. They also teach us to shun and avoid getting involved in gambling at all cost. St. Augustine stated very simply and bluntly that, “The Devil invented gambling,” and in one of his homilies, St. Basil the Great told his people that, “If I let you go, and if I dismiss this assembly, some will run to the dice, where they will find bad language, sad quarrels and the pangs of avarice. There stands the devil, inflaming the fury of the players with the dotted bones, transporting the same sums of money from one side of the table to the other, now exalting one with victory and throwing the other into despair, now swelling the first with boasting and covering his rival with confusion. Of what use is bodily fasting and filling the soul with innumerable evils? He who does not play spends his leisure elsewhere. What frivolities come from his mouth! What follies strike his ears! Leisure without the fear of the Lord is, for those who do not know the value of time, a school of vice. I hope that my words will be profitable; at least by occupying you here they have prevented you from sinning. Thus the longer I keep you, the longer you are out of the way of evil.” (St. Basil the Great, Hexaemeron, Homily 8:8)
As should be absolutely clear by now, the Catholic Church and Her Saints and Tradition condemns gambling and the evil pursuit of gain. 8. Instead of gambling for money you do not need to survive, you should instead use it to save another persons life from starvation, or their soul from eternal death in Hell, which is the only really absolutely important thing to do in this world. As a matter of fact, those who gamble truly mock those who starve physically or spiritually on this earth, since for the sake of materialism and greed, they waste money on things that are utterly worthless, unnecessary and devoid of godliness.
Consider very carefully how you would feel if you were starving or in need of a little money for something important, such as a medical treatment, and someone you knew just went and squandered it on something totally unnecessary without caring one bit that you were starving before his face. In truth, this is very similar to what gamblers are doing. They refuse to see that many people on this earth would only dream of having the money they themselves thoughtlessly squander for the purpose of superfluity, love of riches and materialism; but in Hell, the poor and those who had almost nothing in this life will indeed be thankful that they were not rich or had more possessions since everything we own, as well as every single word we utter in this life, will have to be accounted for in the day of judgment. All other things being equal on earth, the torment in the hellfire of all those who were poor on this earth will undoubtedly be less severe than for those who had much more money and squandered it on unnecessary things.
Consider that most of the world’s poor population in the developing world lives on less than $1 dollar a day. It’s shocking to learn how many hundred of millions of people live on less or a little more than $1 dollar a day—and yet people who gamble and waste money on nothing squander much more than that—the money those poor people could live on to survive. 9. Our Lord Jesus Christ’s words in The Revelations of St. Bridget clearly shows us that a person who does not use his possessions for His sake “will incur a judgment” and “that every person who does not hearken to others will himself cry out and not be heard”, which means that he who does not have charity with others, using his time, money and effort to help and save them from Hell, or their temporal and spiritual necessities, “will himself cry out [to God] and not be heard” both in this life when he seeks to be relieved from his own troubles on this earth, as well as in the eternal fire of Hell in the next, which is the eternal abode of all who lack charity and love for their fellow human beings.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke, saying: “Reply firmly to him with the four things I tell you now. The first is that many people lay up treasure but do not know for whom. The second is that every person entrusted with the Lords talent who does not spend it cheerfully will incur a judgment. The third is that a person who loves land and flesh more than God will not join the company of those who hunger and thirst for justice. The fourth is that every person who does not hearken to others will himself cry out and not be heard.” (In The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 81)
10. One argument that wicked people use to try to defend the sin of gambling is that one may do whatever one wants with one’s money. But is this really true? May one do whatever one wants with one’s money? Of course not. It should go without saying that one may only use one’s money in accordance to the laws of God! 11. And if you think this moral truth of God and of His Church is “strict,” what do you think most critics, heretics and lax people throughout the ages have thought of the very teachings of the greatest amongst the Popes, Fathers and the Saints themselves?
It is indeed a characteristic of the saints and of holiness and zealousness to be strict and condemn and forbid useless, vain, and dangerous activities, teachings or things. That is also why the Church forbids and still forbids these things. Yet, it is not infrequently one hears or reads about how some people impiously claims that the Fathers, Saints, Popes and Councils were “wrong” or “too harsh” on many of the things they taught or wrote about. Some even go so far as to claim that they wrote for monks and similar ascetics or for the benefit of the people of their own time, and that as such, their writings or admonitions does not really apply to us, just as if they thought that the sinner in this world and age of ours will be judged by another judgment than the monk or the spiritual man of former times! Well, they will not! St. John Chrysostom writes concerning this, “You certainly deceive yourself and are greatly mistaken if you think that there is one set of requirements for the person in the world and another for the monk. The difference between them is that one is married [and cares for the vanities of the world] and the other is not: in all other respects they will have to render the same account.” (Oppugn., III; PG 47.372; Harkins (1977), p. 156.)
So all of their criticisms and excuses solely stems from their own personal, biased opinions rather than the truth that the Church has always taught, since they obviously want to excuse themselves and follow their own indulgent, worldly, selfish, and sensual lifestyle rather than the safer, stricter, and narrower way.
St. Anselm, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church: “If thou wouldst be certain of being in the number of the elect, strive to be one of the few, not of the many. And if thou wouldst be quite sure of thy salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few; that is to say: Do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or by night, that they may attain everlasting blessedness.” (Fr. Martin Von Cochem, The Four Last Things, p. 221)
Few are saved from being judged to Hell for all eternity according to God’s Holy and Infallible word in the Bible (Mt. 7:14). That means that most people are damned and always have been. Yet most people seem totally oblivious to this fact and ignores it, and therefore choose to live their lives accordingly, as if nothing really was required of them - just as in the days of Noah!
“And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage [and living as bad as always as if nothing really was required of them in order to be saved], even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark, And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away [that is, all the bad people, which was the whole world!]...” (Matthew 24:37-39)
Look at the world today, does anyone even care anything about penances, mortifications, and prayer? No. That is also why most people choose to ignore the Church’s constant teaching and tradition from the beginning, and why they despise the harsher, stricter and narrower way and advice of those few saints and Catholic writers who actually have managed to save themselves from the eternal hellfire. For as we have seen already, the saints and Councils of the Church are unanimous in teaching that pro-sports and gambling are completely evil and vain, and indeed, many more quotes from them on this issue could be quoted in addition to the ones already quoted, if one just looked for them.
It is thus clear that this is not only the “opinions” of mere men, but the teaching tradition of the Church and of the Bible, as well as of the Popes, Fathers and Saints of the Catholic Church, in addition to reason and logic – which all can understand – that all proves that gambling and modern day pro-sports with all its evils are completely forbidden to take part in, support and enjoy. The unreasonableness and inherent evil of gambling and pro-sports have thus been abundantly proven both from the teachings of the Church, as well as from the teaching of the Divine and Natural Law.