Italian Bishop Mounts Campaign Against ‘Diabolical’ Pokémon Go

A player's phone is decorated with Pokemon stickers as he plays Pokemon Go, a mobile game that has become a global phenomenon, the day after it's UK release on July 15, 2016 in London, England. The app lets players roam using their phone's GPS location data and catch Pokemon to …
Olivia Harris/Getty

Comparing the popular children’s game Pokémon Go to Nazism, an Italian bishop has threatened legal action against the company for turning its legions of smartphone-carrying players into “walking dead.”

Antonio Stagliano, the bishop of the southern town of Noto in Sicily, said that the Pokémon Go craze attacks the very fabric of society by creating “dependence on a totalitarian system similar to Nazism.”

The bishop has reportedly already spoken with two lawyer friends about the possibility of suing Niantic, the creators of the game, in an effort to have the “diabolical” app banned.

Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality” game installed on mobile phones that requires players to get out in the real world to catch Pokémon—collectible creatures that players use to battle one another.

Within two days of its release on July 6, Pokémon Go had been installed on more than 5 per cent of Android phones in the United States and in less than a week became the most downloaded app of the moment in Apple’s App Store, quickly spreading worldwide.

According to Bishop Stagliano, Pokémon Go has already “alienated thousands and thousands of young people” by getting them addicted to monster-hunting.

To add insult to injury, the bishop’s own cathedral church of Noto has been designated a “Pokéstop,” meaning that players stop by the church in order to collect items such as eggs and more Poke Balls as a part of the game. The inclusion of his church in the game has apparently further stoked Stagliano’s wrath.

The bishop is well known in the Italian press, and videos of his liturgical renditions of rock hits by contemporary singers Marco Mengoni and Rocco Hunt have gone viral on social media.

Stagliano isn’t alone in his dislike of the popular game. Earlier this week the mayor of a town in central France banned the app, saying that that the game is spreading in a “contagious” way, and warning that young people could become dangerously addicted to the game.

Fabrice Beauvois, the mayor of the village of Bressolles, said that it was his duty to ensure public order in his town. He even went so far as to mail a letter to Niantic, demanding that they remove their game from his territory.

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