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Selling arms, gambling not sins: Australian cleric

Gambling, smoking and selling arms were not intrinsically wrong, and if they did not threaten the well-being of one's family, they could not be considered as sins, a senior Australian cleric said today.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2010 14:04 IST

Gambling, smoking and selling arms were not intrinsically wrong, and if they did not threaten the well-being of one's family, they could not be considered as sins, a senior Australian cleric said on Friday.

"I must confess I do feel a bit uneasy about that, but only a bit uneasy. Because culturally I'm an Irish Australian and we grew up gambling," Cardinal George Pell said at the Notre Dame University near here, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pell said it might be hypocritical for the Catholic Church to condemn gambling, because gambling in itself was not intrinsically wrong.

"Only when it becomes an addiction, threatening the well-being of oneself and one's family, does it become a sin," he said.

He said as far as the ethics of selling tobacco went, supplying adults who were aware of the risks and still chose to smoke was "nothing to rush to the confessional about".

And when asked about the ethics of selling arms, he said one "can produce arms morally".

"You might say in some cases it is necessary. We are a peaceful country. If we were unarmed that would be an enticement to evil people. The best way to stay as we are is to be strong and effectively armed so I think you could make the case," he said.