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
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
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, S. Louis 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.
|| It is not very clear what S.
Francis means by this. In the English version, Sara only says,
"Thou knowest, Lord . . . that I never polluted my name, nor
the name of my father" (Tobit iii. 15). In the Vulgate the
words are "Numquam cum ludentibus miscui me; neque cum his,
qui in levitate ambulant, participem me praebui" (iii. 17).