Priests and Pokemon

(Warning: May be entirely incomprehensible to those born before the 90′s.) I am currently and wonderfully immersed in the world of Avatar. And no, I am not referring to the oppressed-Pocahontas version:

Now, to justify the amount of time I don’t spend on my classwork, hear me out: We have a horrible habit of trivializing our nerdy, childhood fads – Pokemon, Digimon, Beyblade, Yu-Gi-Oh, X-Men, Justice League, Dragonball Z, or any one of the thousands of fantasy books blatantly ripping off Tolkien.

“It’s a waste of time,” or “It’ll be replaced by the next identical series to come out of Japan,” or “Who on God’s sweet earth is making money off this script?” are all valid complaints muttered from the mouths of adults. But such trivialization denies the amount of involvement children put into these worlds. I distinctly remember the feeling of turning on Pokemon Red Version and trying for the hundredth time to defeat a gym leader, and it wasn’t a feeling of shallow entertainment. Obsession, healthy or otherwise, would be a more appropriate term. Complete absorption. Fascination. My little brothers know what I’m talking about.

These things are easy enough to brush off as ‘rotting the brain,’ but I can’t help but believe that whenever a child is fascinated by something, that something is usually orientated towards God. For whether the Kingdom of Heaven is an earthly or an eternal happiness, the little ones are closer to it. I hope you’ll forgive me for looking for great depths within the world of Pokemon, but I don’t think it far-fetched to believe that the common thread sewn through these fads is likewise wrapped around our hearts.

Anyone who claims a child longs to be wild, unconfined and free is lying to you. Children live for confinement. They live for rules, categories and lines drawn in the sand. A child doesn’t want a life uninhibited, he wants a structure. Think back to the fantastic games of youth — there lie the most dogmatic rituals known to man. It is true that the Latin Mass has a strictness to it, with well-defined motions and sternly enforced rules, but so does a game of hopscotch. And if some well-intentioned modern were to run towards the hopscotching child screaming, “I will liberate you! Forget the rules! Do whatever you like!” he would only have ruined the game. In fact, so innate is the heart’s cry for rules that, if there are none available, the child will make his own. He will step on every crack, he will hop on one leg, he will force himself to walk on the curb, and with all the solemnity of a priest about his ritual. Oddly enough, these self-restricting and dogmatic creatures are happy — it’s their liberated parents who have learned to groan in the morning.

Though true ballers can get back.

Similarly, and more to the point, children are fascinated with the confinement of hierarchy. This is first of all mere fact for them. If all goes well, they are born into the hierarchy of the human family, with the terrifying strength of authority looming over them (parents), minor, non-authoritative strength standing next to them (siblings), and with certain established behaviors required in all of these unit’s interactions. Freud was wrong — they love it. They thrive within this hierarchy. In fact, if they are placed outside of the hierarchy of the family, they’ll only make their own — playing house, following their leaders, “I’m the boss, you’re my servant.” Remember those lists we used to make, those “who I like the most” lists? Children revel in the ordering of things. It is true that a Bishop exerts a spiritual authority over his flock, but no more than a child expects from a parent. But even more important to our purposes is how fond children are of categorizations:

They don’t want to hear about your struggles, doubts or fears. If you have been placed in the Dad category, you are invincible, end of story. If you’ve been placed in the Principal of the Elementary School category, you are feared (though not necessarily in a negative sense), no matter how nice you are or how modern your school. There are bad guys and the good guys, good dreams and bad dreams. There are big brothers and little sisters. Using epithets isn’t merely a literary technique, it is a childish technique. For the mind grasping to understand, the classroom is made up of the red-headed girl, the funny kid, the bully, and all the rest. Children see the world in black and white, if ever black and white shone with a resplendence that made every day worth living.

So. The world of Pokemon — and all similar universes — strikes the child’s heart. There is an ultimate categorization.

Each creature to its power and a power to each creature. This isn’t just coolness for its own sake, this is cool because it fits. It fits the need children have to put everything into a category, to call it by name and to know its strength. It’s the same with the Avatar universe, with the powers of the earth being neatly divided into earth, wind, fire and air. Pokemon fits perfectly with the child’s conception of hierarchy:

Good, better, best. A hierarchy of strength, filled with precise behaviors required in all of these creatures’ interactions. Water beats fire, fire beats plant, and so on and thus forth. Everything categorized, a world of archetypes the child can immerse himself in. So why am I telling you this?

Things that delight the child — hierarchy, rule, ritual, archetype, and all the rest — are the very things springing up from the heart of the Church. She calls us stiffened adults to dive back into the fountain of perpetual youth, so that we might have joy, and have it to is fullest. It is a curious fact that human beings walk with their eyes cast backwards, longing for a second taste of innocence. Do other animals wish to be young and defenseless once again? I don’t know. But our souls cry out and our flesh pines that we might balance our way along the curb without that pitiable self-consciousness that adulthood brings. This is the mission of the Church — to affirm that we are all children, and to bring the world back to innocence.

Think of the religious, the priests and bishops, the monks and nuns, the sisters and brothers. The world might see them as quaint, or even laughable. But I see them as Pokemon, as Airbenders and X-Men. Each an archetype, each categorized by an unique charism, an individual power. The Dominicans fight by the power of preaching, the Franciscans through poverty and the lightning strike of metanoia. The Sisters of Life promote the dignity of all human beings by with joy, while the Gregorians shatter heresy with earth-shaking chant. It’s a universe of powers and strengths, of organized passions, of types and breeds. It is the same with the Church’s hierarchy: The Bishop is only scorned because he is never seen for what he is — the guardian and the gatekeeper of an adventure. The wizard that trains and guides his apprentice is only a parish priest.

There is a delight in this order, the delight of stacking up blocks to make a building. There is a sense of peace granted by the Church, a peaceful fascination, a joyful obsession, the knowledge that life is both a game and a mission. This is the childishness the world has grown out of. I am not arguing that the Church is a lot like the Pokemon world. (Alright, I am.) But more than that: The natural cry of the human heart — as best shown in the desires of children — is answered by the life of the Church. In her sacraments (Power-ups), her catechesis (+HP), her sacramentals (Items), her abundance of spiritualities (fighting styles), her challenges (Bosses), in confession (restart at last saved point), and in her call to of us to win this race (game). I hold with all my heart that if ever a man wants to understand why the Catholic delights in the ritual and rule of his Church, he must first understand why children play Pokemon.

  • Caitlin

    Not Farfetch’d at all.

    • Fisherman

      I Seaking your point, Marc.

      Pokepuns aside- who’s getting excited for Korra?

      • Anonymous

        heehee
        AND ME! HELL YES!

        • Fisherman

          Come on guys, y u no continue Pokepun thread? But I digress. Legend of Korra is set to release 26 episodes sometime this year, but Nikelodeon has yet to release a specific date. My guess is that they’re waiting for the fall line up.

          • Anonymous

            I am SO EXCITED for Korra. The previews (leaked somehow) look great (and just FYI Marc, I was born in the [late] 80s and LOVED Avatar, even though I’m old :-)

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brien-Hartung/1283742889 Brien Hartung

        Very excited! When will they set a date?

    • Penny Farthing1893

      AH! You beat me to the punch!

    • Timothy Steele, II

      I see what you did there, Caitlin :D

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

    Avatar is a great cartoon. I own the whole series, the books and have a video game. Well my son has them when I’m not taking his stuff. And you’re right, when there are no rules or boundaries kids will make them up…. and the floor is always lava!

  • nasanerd09

    Awesome! I’m showing this to the next person (read: my boyfriend) who teases that i’m much too obsessed with the legend of zelda. Also a wonderful way to think about the faith, it’s so true!

    • Liz Gill

      I am doing the exact same thing-my boyfriend dosen’t understand Legend of Zelda, but is a diehard LOTR fan….I don’t get it.

      • Anonymous

        That’s weird, Liz; I had no idea we were dating! :)

    • Em

      Somewhere in Zelda, in the beginning narrative, they actually express the importance of upholding natural law.
      I kind of freaked out a little bit.

      • Ink

        Which Zelda? Ocarina of Time? (My other half has been trying to get me to play it since he found out I haven’t. Please don’t jump on me I like it I used to text-based-RP in-universe I just haven’t played it yet)

      • Ink

        Which Zelda? Ocarina of Time? (My other half has been trying to get me to play it since he found out I haven’t. Please don’t jump on me I like it I used to text-based-RP in-universe I just haven’t played it yet)

  • Elm

    brilliant.

  • Deacon Chuck

    but Marc – you left out one vital character…the awesome deacon with power to shift from world to world…..like blue eyes white dragon! ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/jgetsi Joseph Nicholas Getsi

      YES!!!! YU-GI-OH REFERENCE!

    • Angelonius

      Or like Marche Radiuju from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. :D

  • Belle

    That is so true… I never thought of it that way. I’m going to share this with my friends!
    I became an Avatar fan back in it’s heyday, looking forward to the Legend of Korra this year!

  • Chris

    You’re an extremely talented writer with a knack for connecting what is true with what is often either fun, awesome, or relevant. Keep at it!

  • fabius

    Good channeling of the inner Chesterton here. Dovetails well with the Aristotelian argument that humans love pursuing teleological activities, and love challenges.

    And the aside about the Tolkien ripoffs was good (and important). Tolkien understood the hierarchy of being in nature.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-Anne-Guryn/512868260 Lee Anne Guryn

    You are a very wise young man. I love reading your posts. (recommended by a Priest during last Sunday’s homily where I was visiting). Passing this along to my young adult son to read. Thanks.

    • Anonymous

      oh goodness… ( :

  • gailallenmills

    Great one Marc. Getting a good idea of your parents, well done them for raising a thinking Catholic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brien-Hartung/1283742889 Brien Hartung

    I think you’re right about our natural desire for order and hierarchy. That’s what struck me as amazing about Avatar: not only does it have the fantasy-esque ordering of the elements, but it has an intact human hierarchy that is seen as a good thing!

    The whole problem with the fire nation is that they they have put the lesser in the place of the greater, trying to dethrone the Avatar for some phony “Phoenix King.” The answer is not to destroy them, nor to overturn them in favor of some hyper-egalitarian “democracy”. It is to correct them, that they might return to their rightful place in the rightful order, harmony and hierarchy.

  • Anonymous

    Avatar is great. Color me most excited for imminent sequel series.

    Unfortunately, back in my day, a load of evangelicals in the area got to our parents, and informed them that Pokemon was a quite evil trick of the Devil to get all of their kids into eastern mysticism, the New Age, and Darwin.

    And the parents all bought it.

    • Penny Farthing1893

      I think Darwin would facepalm if he knew about pokemon evolution. Even Lamarck would disapprove. Oh well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

        Because it’s not actually evolution, but rather metamorphosis. There was just a practical problem- metamorphosis was too long to fit in the text box properly on a GameBoy Color, so they went with an alternative word.

    • Anonymous

      My mother believed that about D&D. Then she converted to Catholicism. A few years ago, when I was talking about the game I was running in college, she asked if she could play.

      I love my mom. ;)

      • James H

        The word, ‘Awesome’ fits right in there.

      • James H

        Also, see the formidable John C Wright on the Christianity of early Gaming:
        http://johncwright.livejournal.com/460894.html

        • Anonymous

          that guy is the man. i’m reading the golden age right now

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1125166276 John C. Wright

            Our admiration is mutual, sir. I hope the book does not disappoint.

          • The Ubiquitous

            *swoon*

          • Anonymous

            Oh my. Is this truly THE John C. Wright? I haven’t read your books yet, but I like your blog. :)

  • Liz Gill

    I…I think I might love you Marc. You’re a fan of Avatar, too???? YES

  • Lewinna Solwing

    Ah…. religion as archetypal entertainment. If only absorption in worldly things meant just the same as absorption in the Divine… but it does not seem so, I don’t think. You confuse spirit and matter. Your arguments are brilliant, but they are purely material, for material benefit and balance via religion and piety. Good karma teaching. But that’s not enough. This world and everything in it is going to pass away. Only when we stop playing with and being captivated by the pale reflections of eternal things, like moon on the water, intrigued by the eddies, can we look up and see the moon in actuality.

    • Penny Farthing1893

      That reminds me of a Bruce Lee quote I think. But enjoying stories and putting effort into worldly things isn’t totally useless, if it’s a story about virtue, or something like that. Innocent enjoyment is a good thing, as long as it leads to higher, eternal things, and doesn’t lead you to neglect your duties and responsibilities.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

      If the world was entirely meaningless, it wouldn’t exist. God doesn’t waste his time.

    • Anonymous

      God placed that moon there to serve us. Not everything in the world brings us directly to God, and the same is true of the moon and stars; and yet they give us a sense of order, by which to base our clocks; and a sense of wonder and beauty, by which to recognize those traits elsewhere.

      If we can draw an analogy between the sun and Christ, when the sun is nothing more than a big ball of superheated gas and is not in any way divine, why can’t we take an intellectual construct used for entertainment and raw an analogy between it and the spiritual construct Christ founded for us?

      If that’s confusing spirit and matter, then we need to do away with all art.

    • http://www.facebook.com/techmage89 Paul Fox

      This is a false dualism. Matter and Spirit are both good, and both made to reflect God. The very essence of the sacraments is the notion that earthly (material) ritual is intimately connected with heavenly (spiritual) realities. So it is for all of creation.

    • Boris G

      No no no…..he doesn’t confuse spirit and matter…he connects or better – re-connects – spirit and matter. That the brilliance of it…building bridges aka pontifex….

      God loves matter after all he created it didn’t he?

      This is reminiscent of the I hate religion and I am spiritual but don’t go to church type mentality.

  • grace

    Before I finish reading this, I feel compelled to say the following: Dude, I was born in the 70′s and we had Pokemon when I was a kid! LOL!

    My kids who were born within the last 10 years were dumbfounded when I told them that my childhood in the 80′s and 90′s was virtually identical to now. Similar toys, and hey, we even had minivans! And computers!!!

    • Penny Farthing1893

      Awesome. Most kids think it’s amazing if you played Red/Blue on Gameboy, and didn’t have all these newfangled pokemon. They don’t often play the card game, although I know some that do.

      I subbed for a first grade class a couple weeks ago and it blew their minds that I had all the badges in White and that I had started with Blue. They didn’t quite get why I picked Bulbasaur… Bulbasaur never gets any love, but he’ll always be number 1 in my book ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

        Bulbabasaur FTW! He’ll always be my favorite. I accidentally chose him instead of Charmander the first time I played Red version. I’d never go back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

      Umm…. Pokemon was created in 1996 by Satoshi Tajiri…

      • Penny Farthing1893

        You’re right actually. When was Digimon? Wasn’t there some card game before Pokemon? I dunno because I’m just a whipper-snapper who started with Blue…

        • AttentionDeficitCatholic

          Digimon (1997) came after Pokemon (1996), and Magic: the Gathering (1993) came before the Pokemon TCG (1996) (contrary to what I had originally thought, the Pokemon card game DOES predate Yu-Gi-Oh (1999)). The Pokemon video games (February 1996) came before the card game (October 1996)and the anime (1997).

          Just so we’re all clear.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

    Notice too (at least, I have) that many manga series stress community – built on the goodness of the protagonist – that overcomes rivalries, etc. Of course, they then go to mess all that pretty picture up, etc. In fact, that sort of thing never happens in real life.

    But then, there’s the Church. Where it DOES happen.

    :D

  • Jmsteve4

    You wrote about Avatar and Pokemon… you are legitimately my hero right now. =)

  • Chris O

    marc

  • http://thoughtsofapriest.blogspot.com/ FrChrisOrtega

    Marc….this….is….INCREDIBLE!! I can totally relate with this…with your style of writing here and your desire to show the Catholic connection that stems from our experiences. Kudos to you my brother.

  • Ball of String

    Rather interesting observation you made. Of course, we’re drawn to order, but it takes a lot of work to get things in order, doesn’t it?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

      Duh. Love produces order. True love, that is, because Love – the essence-ness which is of God – is enthalpic. The opposite of entropy, death, and disorder. Love is dynamic in a way we can’t fully understand or grasp, because it is brighter and hotter than the heat of a billion billion suns.

  • Em

    Dream of my life: Have a priest homily quote Iroh’s words of wisdom “Pride is not the opposite of shame, but it’s source. The only remedy for shame is true humility.”
    Super Catholic, no?

    • Penny Farthing1893

      Iroh is so awesome! He’s even more helpful than Yoda! The morals in Avatar are quite well thought-out.

    • Fr. Nick

      I am a priest, and I make a similar point with people all the time, but as I, and more than 90% of the adults in my parish have not watched Avatar I don’t see myself quoting this, but it is possible.

      • Penny Farthing1893

        You should quote it anyway and get them to watch it – they (and you) would probably have fun with it :) Cartoons for grown-ups FTW!

    • Anonymous

      Wasn’t in a homily, but I got this advice in the confessional recently. Not quoted, but exactly the same principle.

  • http://intimategeography.wordpress.com/ Barbara

    I love this because its true. Kids have a very straightforward way of dividing up the world: good/bad/same/different. You see this even with toddlers who get excited about things being repeated and get nervous when something is different. I did a baby-names post on a similar topic explaining why I thought crazily spelled trendy-baby names were stupid, because kids don’t have a fetish of “being an individual and unique” they want a pattern to fit into, and they want to be part of a group.

  • six

    you are perceptive enough to note that hierarchical relationships are the basis of child’s play. They are fun insofar as they are willingly self-imposed, though. in the case of Pokemon, through an attractive fantasy world which offers all kinds of wish-fulfilment. The hierarchies seem worth that. In the case of the church, often it’s a kind of hierarchy they wouldn’t rather have imposed on them. There’s another analog from childhood for that kind of behaviour… bullying. And i don’t think any child would find that pleasant.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

      It is willingly self-imposed. Notice how not even priests are FORCED to stay priests. They can’t do anything about a priest that chooses to leave the Church. But if you want to play with us, you have to follow the rules.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

        A priest cannot cease being a priest, no matter how much he rebels. He may be stripped of his duties, but Holy Orders is indelible. He may abandon his duties, but Holy Orders is still indelible.

    • Anonymous

      Any hierarchy has rules that some member won’t want. The only member of a hierarchy that has true freedom is the one who makes all the rules. (I suggest reading Hobbes’ Leviathan for more on that subject. Assuming you can stay awake through it. It’s hard.)

      As Jacob points out, however, you always have the freedom to leave and enjoy anarchy. Of course, I’ve yet to meet anyone who enjoys spiritual anarchy. If they leave one hierarchy, they join another. The closest you get to spiritual anarchy is agnosticism, aka “whatever, dude.”

  • Penny Farthing1893

    A wild Heresy appeared.

    Gregorian used Chant. It’s super effective!

    Wild Heresy fainted!

    I can’t even express how much I love this post! I still play pokemon, but I will always have a place in my heart for my old Venusaur that was always with me, and my awesome Mewtwo. I remember getting really into the story, and it was fun figuring out the intricacies and relationships of all the pokemon types.The rules make the game fun – the possibility of getting schooled by a pokemon ten levels lower than yours because you picked the wrong type to fight it, trying to pick out the perfect team to take on a certain gym, and always leveling and leveling until you were strong enough to challenge the pokemon league… It also taught patience. Kids are willing to really work at something that’s interesting, and they’ll add rules to make it more interesting (the floor is hot lava). Good post – it made me totally nostalgic.

    I also miss that handy Missingno cheat from Red and Blue…

    • Anonymous

      lolololol

  • Anonymous

    Holy snickerdoodles, the Church is a ready-made RPG!

  • James H

    I protest, sir! I am 41 years young, and I still try to balance along the kerb!

    Of course, I am the kind of dad with morphing powers, used to control unruly hordes (well, OK, a horde of 2). My forms are: TickleMonster, Tag Zombie (BRAINZZ!), Stand-up-comic and Darth Dad (the Force is strong with this one!).

    I’m trying to get them tickets for Middle-Earth, but they’re still at the Barbie stage (ew!). A year or two more, perhaps.

    • Anonymous

      My suggestion: Lego. There’s a new series called Friends that is very popular among girls . . . and they’re doing an LotR line this summer. Get them hooked with a gateway toy!

      My niece absolutely loves Lego. When I was playing a computer game with her little brother, she was rather smug about how she was “over here having fun WITHOUT technology.”

  • littlebroLuke

    Pokemon Partners go Mewtu

  • Mad DawG

    Some time when you have nothing better to do, to some serious research into the words, Λογος and Λεγω. Think about why we call the bank employee who counts out money a “teller”, why one Spanish word for “story” is “cuenta” and how when somebody wants to know what you did and why they ask for an “account” of your actions.

    If it comes to that, consider that most solitaire are nothing but “sorting” cards according to exigent rules.

    THEN think about how God “sorts” the light from the darkness and the dry land from the waters by a word, a Λογος.

    And then think about the first verse of the Gospel of John.

    Wait, better duct tape your head first. It could explode — but in a good way.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RMZ5JEO5ZQFSMGTD3EPTTXRU44 happynun

    Hey…where are the Salesians?! The largest female religious order in the Church, and the second-largest male religious order in the Church?! St. John Bosco said we were to live, “Poverty like the Franciscans, Obedience like the Jesuits,” and that “Chastity will be our special and crowning jewel.” Through the intercession of Blessed Eusebia Palomino, FMA, whose feast we celebrate today, may it be so for every son of Don Bosco and every Daughter of Mary Help of Christians!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=702410037 Skyler von Enn

    This is perfect! I just got into Avatar last year, and coincidentally, my sister and I just ordered Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver, partly for nostalgia – Crystal was my first Pokemon game, though this is my sister’s first time in Johto.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gabrylo Gabriel Irresistible Ong

    Tempation -> Obsession -> Possession..

  • Allison Grace

    I just read most of this out loud to my 14 year old, who was trying to work on his science in the quiet morning …!

  • Jay E.

    Though I confess I was only occasionally exposed to Pokemon as a child, I’ve grown up with my fair share of substitutes. :D This is a remarkably Chestertonian article in that it was able to describe quite well what I had thought was absolutely indescribable. Nice.

  • Da_nightelf

    Hahaha Love this. When ministering to Youth groups, i often say that the growth of our own spiritual life is also like a form of leveling up :)

    i.e. from Baptism > First Communion > Confirmation > Marriage / Holy Orders (levelign up)

    Each new prayer you learn is like learning a new attack, wether you learn to memorize/pray the Rosary, the Creed, St Patrick’s Breastplate, Toungues, etc.

    Love this post!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Patton/592034163 Andrew Patton

      And there is a series of abilities that comes with each: Baptism is a prerequisite to partaking of the other Sacraments. Confirmation fully initiates one into the Church, allowing one to participate in lay ministry (being a godparent, a Eucharistic minister, a confirmation sponsor, etc.). Upon receiving Holy Orders once, one enters into the Diaconate, authorizing him to preach and preside over a wedding outside of Mass. A second reception of Holy Orders ordains him as a priest, authorizing him to consecrate the Eucharist, hear confessions, and administer Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick. A third reception of Holy Orders ordains him as a bishop, authorizing him to ordain others and making him an ordinary minister of Confirmation.

  • Benedict James Wee

    And this is why I still play video games, watch cartoons and buy toys even though I am hitting 30.

    Personally, Castlevania (a video game series) helped me understand the might of the Catholic Church and how it defeated the forces of evil.

    Very awesome article dude, I’m gonna share it with everyone I know.

  • Anonymous

    Awesome, as always.

    Only thing: in the 8th (or something around that) paragraph you said earth, wind, fire, and air. It should have water instead of wind. ;)

  • SoulOfDiscretion

    Even Calvinball has its own odd little mixture of rules!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Inara-Howard/1229293869 Inara Howard

    I’m reading this with Gengar on my lap…he is grinning in approval.

  • Jake

    cheers!

  • Inkblot

    Damn, that was good. I’m the punk kid who came for the Scanlon competition, by the way. You guys were on episode 10 or 11 – 12 and 13 are pretty funny. Keep jamming – I’ll see you this fall.

  • Tinemarie

    Ummm…I was born in the (gulp) ’70′s, and I love Pokemon and Avatar et al.
    I wanted to thank you for this post. As the mother of 4 sons who love Pokemon, I have had to defend myself for letting my children be exposed to Pokemon. Other Catholic parents said – gasp! – I was a “bad Catholic”! Luckily, we have found some like-minded people, and our children play in peace (and are constantly impressed that I know the evolutions of some of the Pokemon!)

    • Anonymous

      I’ve had similar responses for being a Catholic who plays D&D (or any RPG) and likes Harry Potter. In fact, in my last semester at Christendom College, I had a freshman roommate whose mother had an expression on her face, after she found out my thesis was on Harry Potter (and not bashing it), that roughly translated to “I thought this was a GOOD college!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592530596 Anthony May

    This post is brilliant. No payment is sufficient for someone with talents and insight like this but I am going to donate to your paypal!

  • http://7kids6dice1gamerdad.wordpress.com/ Raul

    Good thoughts and I truly enjoyed the post, however, one of the things that doesn’t sit well with me about Pokemon, and I do enjoy watching these from time to time with my children, is the treatment of the Pokemon creature as a kind of property. Each ‘trainer’ obtains these creatures sometimes via combat and entraps them in a magical cage, the Poke ball or some such. Then, much akin to cock or dog fighting, forces these creatures to battle each other for the selfish desires of the ‘trainer’. This aspect of the series disturbs me more than a little and as a parent of eight children, I do wonder about this particular facet of the series. Perhaps I am looking too deep into this, but then again, perhaps not.

  • http://ohnimus.wordpress.com/ Christian Ohnimus

    Your illustration leaves out flying, rock, ground, poison and ghost types. Unacceptable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=744938625 Monique Ocampo

    You are officially awesome for coming out as a fellow 90s fan and connecting something I loved as a kid with the faith I grew up with. As I heard someone say “Kids are as smart as you want them to be.”

    Gotta catch ‘em all!

  • Cuandoman
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angelo-Ocampo/100000081911147 Angelo Ocampo

    I have a question. Are the Final Fantasy games pro-Catholic?

  • Tai Chi Master

    “Laymen has added “”Marian Scapular” to his #2 items slot, and gains infinite invisibility!” lol, awesome post, Marc! Takes me back to my childhood when I watched Pokemon every single day. I still watch an episode now and then – kids today are so deprived of awesome cartoons (except for Avatar, of course).

  • Jennifer

    This follows what Montessori teaches us about children, that they are designed to be orderly and develop in an orderly manner. They thrive in orderly environments since they have to make sense of a whole world unknown to them at birth in such a short time. Things need to be orderly and consistent so they can piece reality together and understand it. If things are always changing that frustrates them and their ability to build on top of what they already know. Your analogy is right on!

  • Marc

    i agreed with everything you wrote until you mentioned god. wtf r u talking about?? god has nothing to do with playing pokemon. and children def do not “live to be confined” maybe when u were a kid, but definently not normal kids. KEEP GOD OUT OF POKEMON

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-A-Carlson/100001401488797 David A. Carlson

    I think that the priests, nuns and bishops are the Pokemon, with their categories and hierarchies. The monks are the Airbenders, with their mystique. And the protestants (and I am a protestant so I can say this) are the X-Men, with their self-confusion and (earlier in protestant history) rebellion and need for acceptance while being different.

    Just a thought. Plus, I love X-Men, so I just have to place myself in that category.


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