The Pastoral Council of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Brazil, issued a statement Friday expressing its rejection of various measures moving through the Brazilian Congress that would legalize electronic bingo and another that would eliminate the one year separation period required before spouses could get a divorce.
The bishops said the approval of such measures would bring “serious consequences for Brazilian society.”
The legalization of electronic bingo and gambling, they argued, “would make it possible for an evil that was already overcome to return, endangering the risk and well-being of families, subjecting so many people to exploitation and turning them into dependents. Even graver still, as was said in the debates in Congress, is the possibility that a new field would be opened for the practice of a wide range of crimes, which include money laundering.”
The bishops said the argument that casinos would create 300,000 new jobs “does not legitimize the harmful practice of these games. In recent years the number of jobs has increased in the country without the need for policies that promote moral degradation, such as electronic bingo or gambling.”
Referring to the proposal to eliminate the one year waiting period required for spouses seeking a divorce, the bishops said this time period required “by the current Constitution at least allows for the possibility that spouses in difficulties have more time to reflect on the consequences of separation for themselves, their children and society.”
The proposal to hurry along separation “without allowing time for reflection, the help of friends, family members and counselors in defense of the bond that unites them, constitutes a banalization of the institution of marriage, with grave and painful consequences for all of society,” they added.
“The bishops exhorted the representatives of the people to a profound reflection about the proposals, and they expressed their support of lawmakers who oppose them,” the statement indicated.
The Brazilian prelates brought their statement to a close by calling on all people of good will, especially Christian leaders, to voice their disagreement to the representatives and to explicitly ask them to express their opposition.