back to article Society of Jesus calls missionaries to Second Life

Jesuit missionaries may soon venture into Second Life, intent on saving virtual people from virtual sins. Writing in the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, whose contents are approved by the Vatican, Father Antonio Spadaro has told fellow Catholics that they shouldn't be wary of venturing into Second Life's virtual …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doing God's work in Second Life

    I am a practising Catholic, and a regular Second Life visitor. My halo isn't particularly shiny in either Real or Second Life. I have made a number of very good friends in Second Life from all over the world, including many fellow Britons.

    Your commentators often refer to Second Life as Sadville, and I can understand the accusation. I think there are many who are socially inadequate for whom SL enables them to spread their wings, to form friendships, to relate with people in a way which they cannot, or choose not to, do in Real Life.

    Amongst my SL friends are two suicidal women - they have 5 attempts between them. I have had an occasion where I was dealing with one of them who had deliberately cut herself, and she and I were sitting in my SL flat for hours talking, partly as our avatars and partly as our real selves, always keeping her talking - she would never have called Samaritans, or even woken her mum who was asleep in the next bedroom. The other girl had a history of violence and abuse from her father, and is psychologically scarred, unable to bear even the slightest physical touch from any man, even one towards whom she is the smitten kitten. Again, there have been times when I've been able to talk, to listen (odd concept, being a good listener in IM) and to counsel.

    The Jesuits (I was educated by the Jesuits) have a pragmatic view on how to deal with the needy. They would appear to recognise that, while it is in Africa, and Asia, and South America that physical and material poverty is encountered, there is a terrible spiritual poverty in the materially rich world. I would like to think that their mission to Second Life would be less about gaining converts, and more about ministering to the spiritually impoverished.

    A mission to Second Life should be considered as very much secondary to the real life work, vastly, vastly less significant (not least because the population is so relatively small), yet not totally insignificant. Every avatar is a representation and a virtual embodiment of a real person, made in God's likeness. To reflect His love into this virtual world is a good ambition.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you sure bout that?

    While I applaud your altruistic actions I've got to wonder if you've been taken in by scam artists? The idea behind second life is that you can be someone you're not (i.e. pretend/virtual/fake,etc...) and many of the "people" there are such sad sorry bastards they make up horrible things just to garner attention from the gullible.

    Behold this information: about such people. (also includes directions on where to go if you want to get buggered by a dirty uncle or want to do a bit of buggering yourself) Perhaps you can find more people to help there. Simply by sacrificing the anal virginity of your avatar you can bring people closer to Jesus (or insert deity here).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virtual Sinners

    May they all go to virtual hell.

  4. Josh

    Re: Virtual Sinners

    I think the point of the missionaries is to stop them from going to either hell.

  5. Les Matthew

    Just all you Second Lifers wait

    for the Jehovah's Witnesses to appear and start knocking on your virtual doors.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fantasy world

    They should be extra careful. eventually could get very confused about which fantasy world they are actually in at any given time.

  7. J


    From what we hear about these missionaries and priests all the time, whatever their "brand", they are probably more interested in participating in the depravity... Me coat! :-)

  8. fon

    well who is the sickest/stupidest here???

    the good thing about 2nd life is it IS NOT REAL .. so you can do things that in real life would mean hospital or worse!

    If your intelligence is so low as to be 'hurt' by MERE WORDS, or obviously FAKE PICS, then most of the residents will soon start ignoring you...

    'Doing gods work' is a good thing, and I am sure you can easily spot the idiots... It is them that take so much effort in lying, It is a good laugh to see them trying so hard!!!

    and if you are unfortunate to have been born without a 'humor bone' the please wake up and realize that people may sound serious, but in fact they are laughing!!

  9. DrXym Silver badge

    A commendable idea

    Second Life is already a haven for weirdos of all sorts. It may as well round out the collection with some religious whackos too. The possibilities for griefing are endless. I expect we'll see pitched battles with swarms of flying phalluses, crucifixes as the weapons.

  10. Mark Major

    And the award for 'Classic Comment of The Decade' goes to ....

    *pauses to open envelope* .... 'DeFex' for 'They should be extra careful. eventually could get very confused about which fantasy world they are actually in at any given time.'

  11. miika

    Temptation ...

    "open to any form of erotic stimulation from prostitution to pedophilia."

    In other words, the catholic church has figured out they have competition to the perks of the priesthood?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Supernatural Superbeings...

    ... in a makebelive world, bring it on! Havn't the belivers of supernatual superbings got nothing better to do, than to 'preach' to people who live a virtual world?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This reminds me of a short story...

    I forget who wrote it and its name, but this reminds me of a short sci-fi story about a priest arriving to spread the word of God on a planet peopled by lizard creatures who looked on everything from a logical perspective and had never encountered fiction or lies; it's told from the perspective of a trader who has been trading with the natives.

    The natives eventually crucify the priest. Very satisfying story.

    Of course Second Life natives aren't logical lizard people (as far as I know) but here's hoping something similar happens to the schizotypal, viral-meme spreading social parasites on their arrival...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: short story

    Sounds like The Streets of Ashkelon (aka An Alien Agony) by Harry Harrison.

    He couldn't get it published in the US for 6 years.

  15. galbak

    harry harrisons short story - The Streets of Ashkelon

    for the first chapter, that happens to include the whole story.

  16. J. Cook Silver badge


    I used to run around in Second life shortly after it cleared Beta. IIRC, there were only about 16 sims at the time, but the community was reasonably close and engaging. (The reason why I no longer run around in there? Real life, mostly.)

    If I'm going to meet these silly people in game if I happen to login, I'm probably going to put this shirt on my avatar:

    Hell, I might even have the original texture files hanging around somewhere even...

  17. Mark

    Who's next?

    If al Qaeda announce a virtual Jihad on Sadville's 'immoral' inhabitants, SL really will have a full and comprehensive selection of nutters on display. Maybe virtual petrol will explode with a little more vigour than the real thing, unencumbered by the laws of physics.

  18. Demian Phillips

    Another bit of Science Fiction

    James Blish wrote "A Case of Conscience" (poublished in the 1950s) that has a Jesuit going on a mission to an "eden" world populated by (as I remember) lizard people and it all goes bad because since they are rational and intelligent they are from SATAN!!!!

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