Catholic Clubs and gaming machines

One of the Catholic Clubs in Sydney

In the late 1970s when my brother applied to join the local licensed Catholic Club in suburban Sydney, he needed a reference from his Parish Priest. To join you had to be a practicing Catholic and show your reason for joining was furthering the aims of the club – being supporting the Catholic Church. Back then the local club sponsored trainee priests at the seminary. The club had poker machines (slot machines) like all licensed clubs in Sydney, but they did not consume the club. In the past 25 or so years poker/gaming machines have come to dominate licenced clubs in Sydney, including the Catholic Clubs. And now you don’t need to be a Catholic to join a Catholic Club. Just pay the $5.00 or $10.00 membership fee and you’re in. Most of the large clubs now have multi-player machines that have large jackpots, and machines that are electronic versions of casino games like blackjack and roulette. The Australian government has recently announced plans to impose curbs on gaming machines in clubs and hotels, including limiting bets per play to $1.00, and requiring players to pre-commit to how much they are prepared to lose in the machines each day. Not surprisingly the Club industry is outraged. In a recent issue of the Jesuit magazine Eureka Street, editor Michael Mullins writes that the Catholic Clubs should take a moral stand and publically support the proposed curbs. And he argues that gambling is a modern form of slavery for problem gamblers, and is therefore against the seventh commandment.

The Catholic Catechism agrees, stipulating that while games of chance 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. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement’. … The Catholic Catechism says:
‘The seventh commandment forbids … enterprises that for any reason — selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian — lead to the enslavement of human beings … It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit.’

Mullins claims that the clubs have the official backing of the church. If they still have, then the Catholic Church needs to apply some pressure to the clubs to ensure they show some social responsibility.

Catholic clubs donating funds to children’s sporting groups and other community organisations is, on the surface, ok. But if a substantial amount of that money has come from the pockets of problems gamblers, then it is not ok. Not at all.

Moral challenge for Catholic clubs | Eureka Street

Church of the Latter-Day Geek

Romsey Uniting Church

Romsey Uniting Church

What started as a joke on the Australian television program Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight, is now an actual church. Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Avril Hannah-Jones will be leading the first service of the ‘Church of the Latter-Day Geek‘ at the Romsey Uniting Church, north of Melbourne, at 4:00pm on April 10, 2011. Rev Hannah-Jones is encouraging people to dress-up in sci-fi costumes, and Klinglons are welcome. Very inclusive … as the Uniting Church in Australia most definitely is. One suggestion on the program for a new set of commandments was “Thou shalt forget about The Phantom Menace”.

What some Priests think about the Catholic Church

St Mary's Cathedral (World Youth Day 2008)

Image by Christopher Chan via Flickr

I present this as is …

ONE priest said he learnt more about God from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings than the Catholic Church. Another compared the fervour of World Youth Day to the Hitler Youth. And a 47-year-old, whose only ambition had been to be a priest, said: ”Given the state of the church today, I look forward to the night when I go to sleep and just don’t wake up again.”

Such were the varied, often frank and sometimes bleak views of Australia’s Catholic clergy revealed in an anonymous survey. The Charles Sturt University academics Chris McGillion and John O’Carroll approached 1550 active and 160 retired priests for their views on their lives and their church, and 542 took part in the written survey. The results, plus 50 face-to-face interviews, were the basis of their book Our Fathers, which revealed that many thought the Vatican was out of touch, bishops were bad managers and the future of the church was a cause of great concern.

The rest, including thoughts on Bishops, abortion, sex before marraige, and the celibacy of  priests, is in the news article. The link in related articles is an extract from the book.

Priests lose faith in their church | SMH

 

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Detering poverty, and extremists, in Indonesia

In 2005, the then conservative Liberal government of Australian prime minister John Howard introduced a foreign aid program to build Islamic schools in Indonesia. The aim of the program was to allow Indonesian children to attend broad-based curriculum high schools rather than them leaving after primary school, provide a path for girls to be at school rather than being in an arranged marriage at 10, and provide education so that job prospects are enhanced. And so that children are not at extremist Islamic schools that only teach the Koran. The aid program has been a success with many children going onto high school.

The program has continued under the Labor government of former prime minister Kevin Rudd and current prime minister Julia Gillard. However, last week conservative Liberal opposition leader Tony Abbott called for the program to be axed as a budget saving measure, with the savings helping to pay for the reconstruction of the flood ravaged state of Queensland and other areas of the country. There has also been the usual bleats by some people – ‘why are we building schools in Indonesia when a lot of schools in Australia don’t have air-conditioning’, and that charity should begin at home.

But here we have a program that in just five years has shown that is working at the grass roots to slowly overcome some of the widespread problems in Indonesia. To axe the program, to withdraw all the funding would be to undo the seed of the changes and will not give many Indonesian children the opportunity to get out of the gutter. Attending an extremist Islamic school should not be the only option – in some areas there is nothing else.

Can’t we have both? Fund the reconstruction of Queensland and build schools in Indonesia. It is in Australia’s interest to continue to have a moderate neighbour in Indonesia.

Australian aid school deters poverty and inspires dreams

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The Ethics-free Future of Eugenics

At some point, we must wonder if technology has not out paced humanity….

The story of an Australian couple who aborted twin boys because they want to use IVF to ensure they have a daughter is attracting a lot of attention, especially among pro-lifers, and understandably so since the case seems to foreshadow an ethics-free future of eugenics.

….

According to the Herald-Sun newspaper of Melbourne, which interviewed the couple, the woman, who is in her thirties, is “consumed by grief over the daughter who died soon after birth” and admits she has “become obsessed with having a daughter and it has become vital to her psychological health.”

The husband told the newspaper that it was the couple’s “right” to try this route. “It’s ridiculous that sex selection is illegal, actually. For certain circumstances it should be legalized.”

…..

Sex-selective abortions also take place in some places in the United States, though the vast majority of Americans reject the practice as unethical, and because the procedure is often used to destroy female fetuses and preserves males.

Couple Aborts Twin Boys Because They Want a Girl Using IVF.

The mother admits that she is obsessed with having a girl. Briefly reading it, it sounds like she has a psychological disorder to say the least and should be treated before IVF is used again.

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Australian television drops Kenneth Copeland

The TEN Network has dropped Kenneth Copeland’s Believer’s Voice of Victory program from capital city free-to-air television in Australia. KCM Australia says the reason is because TEN states the program broadcast on 2 June 2010 breached the broadcasting codes:

They stated the reason was that our broadcast on 2nd June 2010 was unacceptable to the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice point 1.9.6. The code states, a program ‘should not provoke or perpetuate intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or group of persons on the grounds of age, colour, gender, national or ethnic origin, disability, race, religion or sexual preference’. Their claim against us was directed towards comments made on the broadcast about a “homosexual lifestyle” and that God cannot bless it.

As you know Kenneth Copeland Ministries has never promoted intense dislike against any group or individual.

In the broadcast, Kenneth Copeland and David Barton have a discussion about the four kinds of Old Testament Law. The breach would refer to this exchange:

Barton:  … those things that are in the moral Law I don’t have to pray about …. I don’t have to pray about homosexuality, He’s condemned that …
Copeland: … [Oral Roberts] he said God has never ever created anybody to be something He has already condemned … He didn’t create anybody a homosexual, because He condemned homosexuals …
Barton: … I gotta jump on this, because I want everybody to know this cause it doesn’t get publizised. This thing about that he didn’t create someone to be a homosexual, what about that homosexual gene … we now have a study out just in the last few months called Ex-Gays … it documents authoritatively 50,000 cases of people who were homosexuals who no longer were. Now on the secular side they’ve been saying there is nothing you can do about it you were born that way that’s your nature … well if that’s true you can’t have 50,000 ex-gays. I mean that’s like being an ex-black or an ex-white or an ex-whatever. So what’s it has done is science has figured out that God was right. This is not who you are, it’s what you do and you can control what you do. You may not control who you are, you can control what you do … science just got changed this year to match what the Bible’s been telling us all along. And that’s why you always stick with the Bible. Science will catch up with the Bible …
Copeland: … the reason God condemned homosexuality is because of the severe attack it has on the fabric of the blessing, life, all that God created. He created things, certain things to work certain ways to our advantage, and you break that fabric now it opens you up to all kinds of problems … so He’s not condemning people …
Barton: … in Romans 1:27-32 … not only does God not approve homosexuality, it says He does not approve those who approve homosexuality …

The Kenneth Copeland program is still being broadcast in Australia on free-to-air television in regional areas.

http://www.kcm.org.au/broadcast-notification

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Little Pebble sitting on tax-free $millions while in prison

The disgustingly sick and disturbed convicted peadophile and rapist William Kamm known as “The Little Pebble” and leader of a doomsday cult the Order of St. Charbel, has millions of dollars tax-free in the bank because his quasi-Catholic sect is legally a religion under Australian law. This is despite him being in prison and having been convicted of various despicable crimes. Kamm could be released from prison on parole in 2013, and the money is his.

Kamm is clearly crazy, but he has a loyal bunch of followers around the world who still cling to his every word, his belief of visions talking to God and the Virgin Mary, and that the commune on the South Coast beyond Sydney is some kind of Christian Mecca despite the sewage leakage from the septic tank in the caravan park next door infiltrating the grotto waters a few years ago. I heard this guy interviewed on the radio in the mid-1990s, and he really did believe the world was going to end in 2000. He also believed he was going to be Pope Peter II and the last Pope. And he still believes this. As do his seriously misguided followers.

Kamm was the subject of a story on the Australian television program A Current Affair last night. This is the video. (I’m not sure if it plays in every country or if there is a geoblock).
http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=7949513

More about Kamm:
Cult leader jailed for sex crimes | The Daily Telegraph | August 24, 2007

Australia jumps the shark – The Canberra Declaration

This hasn’t made the waves just yet, but I imagine that with the election of an agnostic (because we must always elect ‘Christian’ leaders, seeing as that has always worked out for us in the past) to be Prime Minister in the land of barbies and crockies…

The Canberra Declaration, released on July 23, 2010, affirms the reliance of Australian on God and the importance of Christian values to the wellbeing of the Australian society. The declaration was drafted by over 20 Christian leaders, and was inspired by the 2009 Manhattan Declaration and the 2010 Westminster Declaration. The Canberra Declaration says that its signers believe that protecting life, marriage, and religious freedom matters to society because they are foundational to the creation and maintenance of strong families, caring communities and a just society.

Those who created the document “call on Christians of all denominations to sign, make known and act upon these convictions. We humbly challenge and call on Christians everywhere to translate their beliefs and convictions into action, because our communities need us.”

Hundreds of leaders are expected to sign the Canberra Declaration in the coming weeks.

Visit the Canberra Declaration site

via Latest Updates on Life, Marriage, & Religious Liberty > The Canberra Declaration released in Australia.

Same-sex couple blessing ceremony in Australian church

The Uniting Church is, in some ways, Australia’s most inclusive main-stream Christian church. So …

Some Melbourne Uniting Church clergy will defy the national organisation’s opposition to blessing gay and lesbian relationships at a service for same-sex couples later this month.
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