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4.46 Are gambling, drugs, alcohol, or excessive wealth sinful?

Society and community

“Too much” is almost never a good idea. This is especially the case when you endanger others or yourself by your behaviour. Drinking alcohol is not a sin, but it is a sin to drink too much (Rom. 13:13) Rom. 13:13: Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy.. Gambling is betting money or other things of value in a game of chance. In itself this is not a sin. The danger is that you can get carried away by greed or passion for the game.

Using drugs (except for medical reasons) is a grave sin, because it can seriously damage your health and your life. The true life in heaven is our only future, which will last forever. With this in mind, earthly riches are relative.

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Temperance is an important virtue. Gambling for fun, wealth without greed, and alcohol in moderation are not sinful. Abusing drugs is.

The Wisdom of the Church

May a Christian make bets and play games of chance?

Betting and gambling are immoral and dangerous when the gambler risks his livelihood. It becomes even worse if he risks the livelihood of other people, especially of those who are entrusted to his care.

Morally speaking, it is a highly dubious practice to wager large sums on a game of chance while others lack the bare necessities of life. Betting and gambling, furthermore, can be addictive and enslave people. [Youcat 434]

What duty do we have toward our body?

We must take reasonable care of our own physical health and that of others but avoid the cult of the body and every kind of excess. Also to be avoided are the use of drugs which cause very serious damage to human health and life, as well as the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco and medicine. [CCCC 474]

Why is it a sin to take drugs?

Using drugs is a sin because it is an act of selfdestruction and thus an offense against the life that God has given us out of love.

Every form of a person’s dependence on legal substances (alcohol, medication, tobacco) and even more so on illegal drugs is an exchange of freedom for slavery; it damages the health and life of the person concerned and also does great harm to the people around him. Every time a person loses or forgets himself by becoming intoxicated, which can also include excessive eating and drinking, indulgence in sexual activity, or speeding with an automobile, he loses some of his human dignity and freedom and therefore sins against God. This should be distinguished from the reasonable, conscious, and moderate use of enjoyable things. [Youcat 389]

This is what the Popes say

Each one of us can think in silence of people who live with no hope and are steeped in profound sadness from which they struggle to emerge, believing they have found happiness in alcohol, in drugs, in gambling, in the power of money, in sexuality unbridled by rules.... However they find themselves even more disappointed and sometimes vent their rage against life with violent behaviour unworthy of the human being. [Pope Francis, Address, 17 June 2013]