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.
Please note, it's boring.
For an explanation of the "Vatican Wars":