Archbishops of Boston and Philadelphia Announce ‘Friendly Wager’ on Super Bowl

OMalley Chaput

The archbishops of the two cities represented in Super Bowl LII have announced a “friendly wager” on their respective teams, with a $100 donation to charity and lunch at stake in the bet.

The Philadelphia Eagles “are preparing for Super Bowl LII where they will face a fine and well-matched opponent in the New England Patriots,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput posted on Facebook Wednesday.

“My friend and seminary classmate, Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and I have made a friendly wager to mark the occasion. If the Patriots win, I will make a $100 donation to Catholic Charities of Boston,” he said.

“In the event (when) the Eagles win, Cardinal Seán will make a $100 donation to Saint John’s Hospice, which provides emergency services to the homeless here in Philadelphia,” he added. “For good measure, we added Philadelphia cheesesteaks and Boston lobsters to the bet.”

On Sunday, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles face off in Super Bowl LII at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.

The two prelates, who are both members of the Capuchin order, also issued a joint statement announcing their bet.

“In the spirit of friendly competition, we have issued our wager because we have confidence in our teams and, more importantly, based on our admiration for the commitment of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots to assist their local communities and respond to the needs of the less fortunate,” the two archbishops said.

“We pray for a safe and enjoyable Super Bowl for both teams and all spectators, and that the gifts of God’s love and peace may bring us closer together as a society,” they said.

The archbishops also made predictions for the final outcome of the contest, with Archbishop Chaput forecasting an Eagles victory of 24-20 and Cardinal O’Malley predicting the Patriots to triumph over the Eagles 34-21.

Unlike some other Christian communities, the Catholic Church does not forbid gambling outright.

“Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice,” states the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others.”

The Catechism also warns that the passion for gambling “risks becoming an enslavement” and denounces “unfair wagers and cheating at games.”

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