Over the weekend my niece invited family members to join a Facebook word game we could all play. I clicked into "Apps" on my Facebook page and noticed that I had been invited to join more than 50 games, but one really got my attention: Vatican Wars.
It's a "new social game", a fantasy game, where you can become the pope. As a priest and candidate for pope you have to decide what Jesus would say if he were here today based on these issues: abortion, same sex marriage, if priests can marry, birth control and the ordination of women.
I clicked through and saw that I had only two choices: to be a Templar (socially conservative) player or a Crusader (socially liberal). Each team plays together to try to get one of their members elected pope.
I joined the Templars to check out the winning team. You can win cash to build churches -- or give money to charities which earns you stature points. Alas, I didn't care to play for "stature" points. Jesus never really did "stature" very well.
Perhaps the game developers mean well, but I wonder if they realize how they have politicized the Catholic faith into two political camps that could easily be identified as Republican or Democrat and made "stature" a value. Vatican "wars"? This is the ideology of comic books: good vs. evil. Must everything be set in terms of polarization and violence?
The same company developed the Facebook app "Priestville" with 864 monthly users; "Vatican Wars", since it launch in June, has 4,718 monthly users as of today.
We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.
Please note, it's boring.
For an explanation of the "Vatican Wars":