As the Pokemon Go phenomenon sweeps the world—with the mobile game poised to overtake Twitter and Tinder in terms of number of downloads—religious leaders are sharing varying perspectives on its impact on faith.
In the U.S., Evangelicals are seeing the game as an opportunity to encourage more of the flock to go to church as many of the Pokestops are located in churches.
Many churches have actually welcomed players into their buildings and changed their signs to encourage players to find the Pokemon outside and find Jesus inside.
A recent survey conducted in U.S. churches even indicated an 82 percent increase in attendance owing to the popular game based on the hit animated series, the Babylon Bee reported.
While there are those who see the game as an opportunity to connect with Pokemon Go players, the Catholic church in the Philippines has issued a stern warning against playing the game inside church.
"They should use their time and energy productively and not waste their precious time and [they] should go to church for right reasons," said Fr. Ronel Taboso, parish priest of Sto. Niño Church in a CBCP News release.
In a Facebook post, a lector for the church also reminded Pokemon Go players that the church is not a playground.
"Many people were lining up outside Sto. Niño Church. Hey! The church is not a playground for Pokémon. This should be stopped. Someone has to. You'd better go to church and pray instead," Greeneth May Torres said.
Similar experiences were reported in Baguio, prompting the local bishop to ban people from playing the game within the vicinity of the Baguio Cathedral, one of the biggest churches in the Philippine summer capital, reported The Summit Express.
"They lose their manners during mass. That's prohibited. You should join in worshiping the Lord," Bishop Carlito Cenzon said.