New Pope, new teachings, every Wednesday

The digital revolution means an event that may occur three or four times in a lifetime, now happens every Wednesday, on Facebook.

Once a week, in a game called “Vatican Wars”, an impassioned struggle occurs on Facebook whereby a new pope is selected who can change or reaffirm the Church’s long established teaching.

Papal electors are either socially conservative “Templars” or liberal “Crusaders” who are separated by five “hot-button,” issues

  • abortion
  • contraception
  • same-sex marriage
  • women’s ordination
  • married priests

Changing the Church’s position on any of these requires the election of 10 liberal popes in a row.

The first election took place in July, and since then one liberal pope has been chosen, then three conservatives.

At the time of writing, the current pope is a liberal.

Rather than see it for what it is, a game, some conservative Catholics have taken issue with “Vatican Wars”.

“The game is based on a fundamental misunderstanding,” wrote Catholic Deacon Nick Donnelly on his blog, Protect the Pope. “A pope could not change the church’s teaching on same-sex marriage, abortion, contraception, homosexuality, or the ordination of women. To change these doctrines would be to break with the apostolic faith.”

Cheyenne Ehrlich, founder of the Hawaii-based SGR Games said the focus on social issues was not intended to shift attitudes one way or the other, but instead to maximize the game’s appeal.

“It attracts people to the game who perhaps used to be Catholic and who are not anymore, or who simply disagree with the church’s social positions,” he said.

The company recently announced results of a survey involving 461 of the 30,000 Vatican Wars players. Among the results the survey reported

  • 30% of the group now attend Mass more often
  • 45% of males 24 and younger, and not in a seminary, were more interested in becoming a priest
  • 23% of seminarians said they were now more likely to continue with their studies towards priesthood


Additional reading

News category: World.

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