Vatican gets Minecraft Server
A Catholic priest who works in digital ministry has prompted the Vatican to get its own Minecraft server.
Fr. Robert Ballecer has a background in Silicon Valley and draws on this as part of his ministry.
The idea is to provide a more wholesome gaming experience that aims to facilitate relationship-building among players.
The project aims to recruit, “Gamers who want a little less ‘toxic’ and a bit more community.”
“You can invite people who want to be creative, who don’t want to be toxic, and you create an environment in which people can express themselves and build up a relationship,” Fr. Ballecer said.
“And the relationship thing is the most important part. That’s ultimately what I want to do with the server.”
Fr. Ballecer says that his digital ministry has led to a few interesting discussions.
“Because you see this guy in a collar talking about the latest offerings from Google, or how you run fibre optics across the Atlantic. And they didn’t understand, they said, ‘Wait a minute, these two things don’t go together.’ But after a time, they realised, ‘Okay, he knows what he’s talking about, he just happens to be a priest.’ And ultimately, that was the ministry I was trying to do.”
“At first, there were a lot of people who were very hesitant,” he said.
As Insights has previously reported, Uniting Church Minister Rev. Will Nicholas has himself participated in ceremonies inside churches on VR platforms. Rev. Nicholas also uses Twitch, a platform that live streams video, to record himself working through a video-game while giving commentary that includes theological concepts (You can view his Twitch feed here).
“There is this aspect of playfulness that allows us to do more than we could imagine because we forget that it is a task and we engage in a game,” Rev. Nicholas said.
“And I think that is probably the core for me of my learning in digital ministry.”
The Uniting Church does not have its own Minecraft server, however. Any takers?