‘Vatican Quest’ Game Depicts Pope Benedict as Pimp for Pedophile Cardinals

RoundGames.com has created a Vatican-themed video game — try it out here! — that has sparked outrage amongst Spanish Catholics in particular:

Players take on the role of a pixelated pontiff, who bears a distinct resemblance to ex-Pope Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. The Pope leaps to high balconies to retrieve altar boys, then delivers them to shifty-eyed cardinals who disappear with the youngsters into darkened Vatican rooms. To complicate things, the Pope must avoid or attack roving reporters with cameras and microphones, bent on exposing the scandal. If a reporter catches the pontiff with a boy in tow, it’s game over for the Catholic Church.

The game’s social commentary, placing the Pope in the role of top-secret pimp for child molesters, is hard to ignore. It’s easy to see why some Catholics find it offensive. (No word yet on why the outcry should be larger in Spain than in other Catholic communities.)

Spanish group MasLibres, which calls itself a “social initiative in favour of religious freedom,” has called for the game to be removed from the Spanish platform that carries it. Spokesperson Miguel Vidal complains that the game mocks both abuse victims and Catholics generally:

Reducing to caricature the drama of child sexual abuse, and then profiting from it, offends the victims and their families. This trend of hurting the Church and Catholics must have a limit. Unfortunately, on some web pages that are currently hosting the game, it has become the most popular with its readers.

Commenters disagree about whether the game trivializes child rape or fairly satirizes the Catholic hierarchy’s failure to respond to endemic abuse. Others ask why other religions’ unsavoury histories with child abuse haven’t been depicted in online games. (Muhammad’s marriage to a child bride is a popular topic.) Some call it an example of anti-Catholic bias, but plenty think the Church deserves the criticism.

Perhaps the most offensive part of the game, however, is the “Game Over” screen, which depicts the Pope character hovering above Rome, sporting wings and a halo.

Depicting the Pope as a pimp procuring underage victims for prelates may offend some Catholics… but the idea that a man who has overseen a systematic conspiracy to conceal widespread sexual abuse of children could be rewarded after death is an idea that should offend everybody.

In other words, it’s not the game that’s offensive.

It’s the fact that the game is based on things the Catholic Church has actually done.

About Sara Lin Wilde

Sara Lin Wilde is a recovering Catholic (and cat-holic, for that matter - all typographical errors are the responsibility of her feline friends). She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where she is working on writing a novel that she really, really hopes can actually get published.

  • LesterBallard

    No Bill Donohue . . .

  • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

    I think Spain is the first to be outraged because, despite “La Crisis,” it’s still the wealthiest of the catholic countries. Hence more computer access.
    I shall have to watch the local news to see just how loud is the outrage.

  • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

    Oh, and they are NOW concerned about the victims? HA!

  • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

    Just went to the +Libres’ sight and it looks like Spain’s answer to the WND. Shudder.

  • trj

    Maybe he exploded.

  • JET

    As Jonathan Swift demonstrated a long time ago, there is nothing better than a good satire to bring a subject to the public’s attention. Just ask the many 20 somethings that were raised on Southpark.

  • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

    We could only hope to be so lucky.

  • Lagerbaer

    Hm, either this is a remake or this is really old news. I remember seeing a game like that some 10 years ago :D Still relevant, of course.

  • CottonBlimp

    “Popped” would be more precise.

  • busterggi

    Uh oh, looks like another Spanish Inquisition coming down the road!

  • WallofSleep

    Nobody would expect it.

  • Pattrsn

    “Unfortunately, on some web pages that are currently hosting the game, it has become the most popular with its readers”

    My favourite part.

    I disagree on the ending because according to catholic dogma, even though he did aid and abet the pedophiles, he does still go to heaven. To me it outlines the hiipocrasy of the church even more.

  • WallofSleep

    Is the game in poor taste? Sure. That some would find this more offensive than decades of abuse, mutilation, child molestation, and cover ups is in even worse taste, though.

  • http://twitter.com/docslacker MD

    And cue the Tim Minchin song…

  • liu

    “Spanish group MasLibres, which calls itself a “social initiative in favour of religious freedom,” has called for the game to be removed from the Spanish platform that carries it.”

    Yes, because religious freedom means censoring anything that doesn’t agree with your views. That sounds about right.

    Just another example of how terrible theists are at freedom of religion.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    I scored 7000.

  • baal

    Given the huge number and diversity of small niche games out there, the RCC can only Streisand effect by complaining. Maybe the complaining is part of a wider “we’re the victims!” campaign?

  • Matt D

    Heh, this must be a prequel to the “Left Behind” PC games.