A man uses a mobile phone in front of an advertisement board bearing the image of "Pokemon Go" at an electronic shop in Tokyo on July 27, 2016. RNS Photo/courtesy of Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo, Reuters

Italian bishop likens ‘Pokemon Go’ to totalitarian Nazism

By  Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service
  • August 19, 2016

ROME – An Italian bishop has threatened to take legal action against “Pokemon Go,” describing the game as “diabolical” and a “totalitarian system like Nazism.”

Bishop Antonio Stagliano, whose diocese is centered in the Baroque tourist town of Noto in Sicily, was quoted by several newspapers on Thursday (Aug. 18) saying he was prepared to go to court to have the popular app banned “to preserve the social stability of the men and women in his region.”

The game, which enables players to catch virtual monsters using GPS mapping on their phones, has become a global sensation since its launch on July 6. But it has provoked plenty of controversy and concern in Italy and elsewhere.

Stagliano said the game was “diabolical and alarming” because it had “alienated thousands and thousands of young people” by getting them hooked on monster-hunting. He said he had discussed the matter with two lawyers and asked them to pursue legal action.

The outspoken bishop is already well-known in Italy, particularly for his renditions of rock hits by popular singers Noemi and Marco Mengoni when he is celebrating Mass.

Last week, a luxury hotel group in the Italian region of Tuscany said it was offering therapy to billionaire guests addicted to the Pokemon game.

Salvatore Madonna, the CEO of Soft Living Places, which has five-star hotels in Forte dei Marmi, an upscale coastal resort town, and Viareggio, said that enthusiasts’ dependency “knows no social barriers.”

“We’re seeing billionaires, Sheikhs, Emirs, their wives and children, Russian oligarchs and Italian industrialists hunting virtual creatures in the swimming pool, or in corridor and reception,” said Madonna.

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