True Charity?

My job requires that I travel quit frequently and I have taken the habit of seeking out local Catholic Churches in which to spend time with the Lord in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. While recently visiting a church in Pittsburgh, my solitude was broken by a male voice repeatedly barking out, “Raffle tickets, raffle tickets for sale!” Upon leaving the chapel, I discovered a parishioner standing at the busy street corner alongside a new Dodge 2015 Dart. He was selling tickets to any and all passersby who wished to exchange their money for the opportunity to win.
To me, parish festivals, fresh corn stands, and state fairs are all synonymous with summers end. Admittedly, I do like parish festivals. I enjoy the food, music, dancing and the fellowship this brings with family and friends. I also admire the generosity of the many parishioners and youth who work so hard pulling these events off. That being said, I must admit that I am strongly opposed to the practice of gambling, especially of raffling large ticket items as a method for fund raising at these festivals.
First, is the all too unfortunate condition of causing the occasion of sin for our brothers & sisters who battle with the addiction of gambling. We should not be benefitting from leading our brethren into this temptation. However, what equally concerns me is the lack of faith this demonstrates both in and from the parish community. The fact that the parish, parishioners and staff, places its reliance on such fundraising tactics instead of obedience, tithing and trust in the Lord’s Blessings is erroneous.
Finally, I believe the purchase of raffle tickets, as a personal means of supporting the church, denies the parishioner the graces of joyfully giving without expectation of repayment. “Each must do as already determined without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need; you may have abundance for every good work.” 2 Cor 9 7-8.

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